Eritrea has been excluded from East Africa’s main soccer tournament this month because of political tensions with host Ethiopia.
Nicholas Musonye, secretary general of the Council for East and Central African Football Associations, says the regional soccer body ”must respect” Ethiopia’s position not to allow the Eritrea team into the country to play at the CECAFA Cup from Nov. 21-Dec. 6.
The neighbors were at war between 1998 and 2000.
Eritrean players have also frequently used soccer trips to try to escape their restrictive homeland.
A group of 15 Eritrean players and a team doctor went missing and claimed political asylum at the 2012 CECAFA Cup in Uganda. Last month, 10 were granted asylum in Botswana having refused to return home following a World Cup qualifier.
Eritrea was not barred but routinely boycotts sports event that are taking place in Ethiopia due to occupation. However, Ethiopia was barred from participating in 2010 when Eritrea hosted the CECAFA games.
#Eritrea was not barred but routinely boycotts sports event in Ethiopia due to occupation;Ethiopia was barred when Eritrea hosted z games
— Yemane G. Meskel (@hawelti) November 11, 2015