Eritrean Football Team

(P1) Ten players from the Eritrean football team have refused to return home after playing a World Cup qualifying match in Botswana and are now SEEKING ASYLUM there, officials say.

(P2) The men were DETAINED by police after deciding not to board their plane.

(P3) They are reported to have refused to go home despite the INTERVENTION of the Eritrean AMBASSADOR in Botswana.

(P4) There have been a number of mass DEFECTIONS by Eritrean athletes in recent years.

(P5) One of the most NOTICEABLE was in 2013, when Uganda granted asylum to 15 Eritrean players and their team doctor after they ABSCONDED at the end of a football TOURNAMENT.

(P6) A senior official at the Botswana Football Association says it has yet to ESTABLISH why the players refused to leave with their team-mates.

(P7) However a report in the Botswana newspaper The Voice said that the players were DISTRESSED about the PROSPECT of joining the Eritrean army and wanted to seek asylum despite being persuaded not to by the ambassador.

(P8) The newspaper reported Botswana Football Association Vice President Basadi Akoonyatse as saying that the Eritrean players were found missing from their hotel rooms early on Wednesday morning by team officials.

(P9) “A report was made to the police who spotted them LOITERING around Francistown, ALLEGING that they were in search of a Red Cross centre where they could seek assistance to… be granted asylum in Botswana,” she said.

(P10) Players’ representative Dick Bayford told the Reuters news agency that he had received reports of an attempt to remove the players FORCIBLY from Botswana.

(P11) Eritrea is NOTORIOUS for HUMAN RIGHTS abuses, with TORTURE and slavery both reported by the United Nations to be COMMONPLACE.

(P12) The country has also been accused by the UN of forcing its citizens to indefinite national service and of killing people trying to escape abroad.

(P13) The Eritrean government DISMISSED the UN’s findings as “totally UNFOUNDED and DEVOID OF ALL MERIT“.

WORDS: 321



If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Why do international sports so often become political?
  3. What is your personal understanding of “human rights”?
  4. What should the STANDARDS for seeking asylum in another country be? For example, that you are in danger in your native country?
  5. Do you have an awareness of the issues in different African countries, or do you think of Africa as a single UNIT?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Human rights
  • Devoid of merit

Cambly Practice Button


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s