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Tanzania rejects asylum request by Eritrean footballers

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania - Tanzanian authorities have turned down a request for asylum by 13 Eritrean football players on grounds that they did not qualify for refugee status. In a statement late Wednesday, the

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – Tanzanian authorities have turned down a request for asylum by 13 Eritrean football players on grounds that they did not qualify for refugee status. In a statement late Wednesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said the youths who were members of Eritrea’s Red Sea Football Club failed to prove that they would be tortured or prosecuted on return to their Horn of Africa country.

The players did not show up for a flight that was to take them 9 July 2011 to Asmara, after their club was eliminated from this year’s Championship of East and Central Africa Football Association (CECAFA) Kagame Cup, held in Dar es Salaam in June/July.

They later showed up at the Home Affairs Ministry asking for asylum.

According to the foreign ministry’s spokesperson, Isaac Nantanga, the National Refugees Committee, rejected the Eritreans’ applications after assessing reasons given by each person to seek asylum.

“None of the applications met the criteria for refugee status,” Nantanga said in the statement, adding that it was on that basis that the refugees committee presented its recommendation to Home Affairs Minister Shamsi Vuai Nahodha. The minister then ruled out their applications.

Nantanga said, however, that the UN Refugee Agency could seek permission from the Tanzanian government to keep the Eritreans under its protection while arrangement was being made to transfer them to a third country.

In similar incidents, four players of the same football club defected after playing an African Champions League match in Kenya in 2006 and the following year six players of the Eritrean national football team requested asylum in Angola.

Again in 2009, a dozen members of the national football team went missing during a tournament in Nairobi.

After eight months of hiding in a refugee camp in Kenya, under the protection of UNHCR, the Eritreans were granted asylum in Australia, where they have resumed their football career.

Pana 13/10/2011

Review overview
  • denden October 14, 2011

    So what is happening to them? no more football, that they loved to do? he he he boys you been decieved by some anti eritrean elemnets, well what they say is “don’t look in the horeses mouth given to you as a gift” meaning what ever was promised to you all you got was ZERO. I can only pray for you to pick up where you left and carry on playing the beautifull game FOOTBAL not politics.

    • Hakegna October 15, 2011

      ki ki ki he he he denden actually you should cry because most of this players are cousines of higdef who facilitated their selection to the football team. They meant to strengthen higdef supporters in diaspora. I know many of them who ask asylem in foreign country and after they get their asylum they show up at higdef party first in line. So who ever have the previlage of escaping Eritrea through its airspace is related to higdef. I don’t feel sorry for them Well done Tanzania.

  • Michael October 14, 2011


  • Hagos October 14, 2011

    Even more problem is to come in your life dear footballers. Propaganda of some narrow minded people made you to decide a wrong decision. Any way the refusal of asylum means it is the beginning of failing in life . Carry on and you will see it.

  • shawel October 14, 2011

    The only thing I would say is so so sorry for the minor disappointments but this is a temporarily issue not the final out come the future is bright for you guys. As we all know every one have to go through this process.
    Don’t worry guys a third county will give you the refuge status that you need, even not going far Uganda will give you.the asylum because they know the PIA is like mad dog. so the sooner you get out of his hands the better.

    From that day, you are free man as well as you could enjoy your foot ball all over the world.
    as you already know from Eritrea from the East African community will help you settle down even in Uganda ,if you are lucky you could end up in North America or Europe.
    So don’t listen to the losers like Hagos and Denden, the are hiding in USA or Europe and the would like you to be HGDEF slave.if the like let them play or become slaves of PIA and his HGDEF until one day he put them in Eraero for not scoring.

  • kiros October 14, 2011

    How come Tanzania refuse them asylum?It is very sad whle knowing the eritrean gov is against all the people of Eritrea.when these kids are coming to play they have to submit huge amount of money to confirm for their return and if they don,t win they end up going to the endless slavery where a lot of people are escaping and getting thirty refuge status everywhere in the world. And once you are in thqe endless military service it is where no body treats you as a human being.and it is human right abuse.So what evidence dose Tanzania want to refuse them an asylum?it is sad to hear that.

  • Bus.Zone October 14, 2011

    who want to stay in Tanzania any way ur only Stop over

  • ermias October 17, 2011

    The most important thing was to get out of that hell. As a true Eritrean and victim of the regime I am happy for you. But, if not all, some of you might be seen in the future at the forfront of the hgdef party or you may end up being the servant of it.

  • ermias October 17, 2011

    It is better to live any other country without residence permit than live in Eritrea with a dog like treatment.