Before we get upset and before we try to analyze and re-analyze why some players on the ERITREA national team that traveled to Botswana decided to remain and ask for political asylum, let us take a deep breath and not get caught up with the enemy tactics to DEFAME ERITREA! through sports for purely a political reason. Let us look at the facts. Eritrea was back to FIFA international play for the first time in almost 4 years. Ranked at number 202 as a result of past defections, in a two week span of time utilizing Eritrean players from overseas the team competed well.
Bayford's audacity to claim that the EMDHR was worried that the players, who are said to be part of the Eritrean army, are likely to be charged with desertion if they are sent back to Eritrea, which is punishable by death. Pure fabrication but strong evidence for Mr. Lawyer!
Defections are not new. Even as recent as this past summer members of the Cuban national soccer team had defected to the USA during the Gold Cup Tournament. Only difference is that these athletes know automatically they will be granted asylum as the USA allows Cuban athletes to defect because the so-called “wet foot, dry foot” US policy is still in effect. The rule stipulates that a Cuban who sets foot on US soil is allowed to stay.
Good Luck to the national team in the future. We will build our program together as a nation. A clear indication was on Saturday when thousands and thousands of fans showed that no matter what ERITREA will always shine in sports.
For Eri-international sports.