Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Thomas Kelati: Eritrean-Polish-American currently playing in Spain's top league for UCAM Murcia.

It has been a while since we have heard from Thomas Kelati who has been consistent in his ability to play some hard core basketball. Many of us recall when Thomas was signed briefly with the Los Angeles Lakers making him the first Eritrean to join an NBA team. While that adventure did not last long, he became a free agent and was waived. He played for Power Electronics Valencia where he signed a nice contract following the Lakers. In 2010 he won the ULEB (The Union of European League Basketball) Eurocup playing for Power Electronics Valencia. He played a big role throughout the season and showed why he deserved to play in one of the top leagues in the world.

                        Thomas playing for Khimki in Russia.
In July of 2010, he inked a two-year deal with BC Khimki of Russia signing a pretty decent contract. With BC Khimki he won the VTB United League in 2011 and Eurocup in 2012. Following that great season with the Russians, he left BC Khimki in 2012 after his contract ended.

In the summer of  2012 he signed a two-year contract with Valencia Basket where he moved to the beautiful city of Valencia once again. After an injury and sitting out for a short time he left Valencia in June 2013 one year after securing a contract. In late September of 2013, he signed a two-month contract with Laboral Kutxa also in the Spanish league where the team was located in Basque Country. He left the team and has since joined his current team also once home to another Eritrean sports star Henok Goitom who played for Ciudad Murcia. Henok has recently signed with Getafe as most of us are aware.

                Thomas Kelati with his new team UCAM MURCIA
Meanwhile, in February of 2014, Thomas signed with UCAM Murcia for what was left of the season and had a very good run so the team has since then extended his contract for two more years. Currently Murcia is struggling to make the playoffs. The team led by Greek coach Fotis Katsirakisa won a huge game last weekend on its home court. Thomas Kelati once again struck as he helped his team defeat Baloncesto Sevilla by the score of 80-76. The Eritrean-Polish-American who has done well throughout his career had a huge day bringing back memories of his college days at Washington State University by scoring three consecutive three pointers for a total of 9 points as he came off the bench. Thomas' role with his new team is the 6th man and his ability to defend and shoot long has helped his career by contributing a lot to all of his teams. 

Can Thomas who is seen in this very recent picture above sporting an Eritrean Scarf help his new team Murcia a place that Eritreans have made a great athletic career out of, into the playoffs? We shall find out and keep you posted on Eri-International sports.

For Eri-International sports

Mike Seium

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Johan Cruyff: A Legend is gone, he leaves a great legacy & lesson to be learned.

The world of soccer or as it is known all over the world "Football" has lost one of a kind. Considered by some as the most skilled player, Johan Cruyff has to go down as one of the few people who transformed the game and it can be argued that the era in which he played may not be repeated again. With arch nemesis such as Franz Beckenbauer, and the greatest player of all time Pele, George Best, Eusebio and the many others who shaped the game of soccer, Cruyff will always go down in history as the person who introduced us to "TOTAL SOCCER". Way before Ronalidinho, Messi, Ronaldo of Brazil, Maradona, Ronaldo of Portugal, Cantona, Zidane, and the many others including those who played for Cruyff while he was a coach at Ajax, Barcelona and the Dutch national team where he inspired the likes of Rudy Guillit, Frank Rickjard, Marco Van Basten and the many others that came after them, he was regarded as the man who created magic with the soccer ball.

In an interview he conducted for a documentary, Johan once said that the soccer ball was like your friend and you have to keep it with you when you need to and pass it on to others when others came to take it from you. Starting with his humble beginnings in the streets of Amsterdam, Cruyff got the opportunity to start playing as a kid with the Ajax club where he was able to work and hang out with older players that thought him some of the skills he acquired.

As an avid fan of the Dutch national team which has never won the world cup, I became intrigued by his ability to move the ball as if it was tied to his feet. Watching the 1974 world cup as a very little kid with my dad and his friends on TV, I was mesmerized by the way he handled the ball and shared it with his team mates. When the Orange Crush lost their final game to Berti Vogts, Muller and Franz Beckenbauer, I was heartbroken. Meanwhile, while growing up in the US, I was fortunate enough to see him play for the Washington Diplomats. In the early 80's some of the world's best players including Pele made their way to the NASL (North American Soccer League) with the addition of many African players who did not have big leagues in the continent as well as some of the up and coming college stars with the USA, the league surpassed every one's expectations and was regarded as a very competitive league. It is to be recalled in a game at RFK stadium, Cruyff scored one of the best goals of his career where he took the ball from midfield and after dribbling through many players and placed the ball in the back of the net. Local TV in the DC area must have showed the highlight for almost a month after wards and Cruyff shure enough won the title of "Budweiser goal of the year". He was purely a class act and a great ambassador of the game but what he will most be remembered for is his prowess on the field.

Johan won the Ballon d’Or three times. He was such a majestic play maker and revolutionized the game by allowing a fluid style of play. His mind thought way ahead of time and his timing synced well with his flow of the game. He went on to coach in Europe and provided us with a son Jordi. The son followed in his dad's footsteps even though he may not have been as good as his father. As an executive of Ajax, & Barcelona the impact he had on the game from coaching to running a strong and immaculate program will forever go down in the annals of history. Today the sports world and the game of soccer lost an icon.

The lesson to be learned:

As a habitual smoker until year 1991, Johan Cruyff may have hurt himself and as a result of it he got lung cancer. Most people don't talk about the cigarette smoking years which were his heydays because he went into coaching after he quit. I was always amazed by people like him whose athletic abilities were so good and they also smoked cigarettes. I had one such teammate in college and he was one of the best players on our team, however I am amazed to see a player the caliber of Cruyff practicing something that would affect him later in life. He was a chain smoker and may be young people can learn a lesson or two from this experience.

May He rest in Peace! He will be missed as a soccer legend, executive and plain simple a great human being. His image will forever be engraved in my head like some of the greatest players who have played the game. Why? Because I LOVE SOCCER!

Mike Seium
For Eri-International sports.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Henok Goitom signs with Getafe FC of La Liga

After a couple of years in Sweden where he was born and raised to his excellent Eritrean family, Henok Goitom once again embarks on a new mission. Goitom signed a new contract amid confusion as to where he would end up in the last couple of weeks. Even Eri-International reported the possibility of him signing with an MLS team which I am sure he could have, if he wanted to.

The Eritrean national team standout will be playing with Getafe FC in the Spanish first division also known as LA LIGA. Most of his fans are aware of his playing days for two other La Liga teams in the past. He had a very successful stint with FC Valladolid when the team was playing in the premier league and a short stint with Almeria FC as they were relegated to the second division. While Almeria currently stands at #19 in La Liga, Valladolid has since been relegated to the second division.


Henok Sweden's MVP and player of the year with AIK.

His new team Getafe FC is currently standing at #15 and is a team to be reckoned with in La Liga. They have upset big teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in the past. The team which has players from Spain, Uruguay, Argentina, Ghana, Serbia, Hungary(GK), Brazil, Algeria (Captain) and now Eritrea is looking to the new season to be a contender. It will be fun watching La Liga once again as we continue to witness the incredible career of Henok Goitom who in between will be playing for the Red Sea Boys.
                        Henok with his new team's Jersey, after signing with Getafe FC of La Liga.
Congratulations to Henok Goitom on the new contract and we hope to see a great future and a successful debut with Getafe FC. A little bit about Getafe the city and the team tells us that the club is based in Getafe, a city in the Madrid metropolitan area. Getafe was founded in 1946 and refounded in 1983. Getafe has been in the first level of La Liga since the year 2004-2005 when Henok was playing in the league. The club's home stadium is the Alfonso Perez Coliseum which was founded in 1998 and can hold up to 20,000 spectators.

For Eri-International sports.
Mike Seium.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Half Marathon Legend Zersenay Tadesse to compete in Cardiff, Wales for ERITREA!

     On Saturday March 26th, 2016 in Cardiff city Wales, Eritrea's world champion Zersenay Tadesse will be going at it against many elite runners. Cycling and Half Marathon (13.1) have put ERITREA in the international sports scene. Hoping to see some new and fresh runners surprise the world in Cardiff. I also hope to see ERITREAN fans like the one on this promotion video to be there supporting our LEGEND! Yes LEGENDARY WORLD RECORD HOLDER in the half marathon, Zersenay Tadesse defending his title. Many have bragged that they would break his record of 58 minutes 23 seconds since March 2010 as he will be chasing his 14th world Half Marathon championship medal that includes six golds throughout his career. He is the KING of HALF MARATHON! a sport that is becoming popular in growth. Zersenay has won four successive individual titles between 2006 and 2009 and took a fifth in 2012. This hard working Eritrean Half Marathon record holder will be joined by Britain's Mo Farah and Kenya's reigning champion Geoffrey Kamworor in an elite field for the world championships in Cardiff on March 26. For more info log onto

Most of you know that Eritrea has also produced other up and coming half marathoners. Five Eritrean runners finished in the top 10 in Copenhagen two years ago and our national team for Cardiff will include Nguse Amlosom, who was fifth, and Samson Gebreyohannes, who was eighth, as well as Zersenay Tadesse. We wish all of these guys the best. Hoping our women will also participate and surprise us. Meanwhile enjoy this video for Cardiff 2016 where ERITREA's flag is featured along with the Legend himself Zersenay Tadesse!

For Eri-International sports
Mike Seium