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‘If they find us it’s death or kidnap’: the Eritrean footballers on the run

As Eritrea internationals use matches abroad to defect and seek asylum, we speak to one of the players hiding in Uganda. The moment Mewael Yosief had been expecting all his life came a couple of hours after what should are the top of his young football career. Two goals and a man-of-the-match display from the tall midfielder in Eritrea’s 5-0 victory over Zanzibar on 29 September 2019, which found out a Cecafa Under-20 Challenge Cup semi-final against the East African heavyweights Kenya, was hailed by a tweet from Yemane Gebremeskel, the country’s minister of data , praising his performance. https://www.maxbetsbobet.org agen sbobet international

But because the officialdom staying with the squad at their hotel in Uganda toasted their victory and therefore the coach’s prediction that they might even continue to win the tournament for the primary time, Yosief and his teammates Simon Asmelash, Hermon Yohannes and Hanibal Tekle seized their opportunity.

“Everyone was celebrating our victory that meant we might be within the semi-finals in order that they didn’t think we were getting to run away,” the 19-year-old remembers. “When we asked the guards if we could choose a walk, they said: ‘OK you’ll go.’ That’s once we defected.”

After three weeks on the run, they released a video via at some point Seyoum – a gaggle focused on human rights for Eritreans that was found out by the London- and Stockholm-based campaigner Vanessa Tsehaye – during which they begged the United Nations diplomat for Refugees (UNHCR) to grant them asylum during a new country.

“We wanted to invite help,” Yosief says. “After that, the UNHCR contacted us and told us they might take us to a secure house and here we are. Now we are expecting a choice but it’s to be in favour for us. We cannot stay here in Uganda. There are numerous Eritreans working for the govt here and that they are still hunting us.

“I’m unsure how they acknowledged but one among the folks that helped us escape suddenly went missing at some point ,” he adds. “After three weeks, he finally called us and he said the govt had been trying to kidnap him. he’s now hiding also and that we can’t contact him any longer . you’ve got to know that this is often serious. it’s not a joke. the sole thing that’s keeping us safe is that the incontrovertible fact that they don’t know where we are. If they find us it’s either death or kidnap. If they’re successful, they’re going to manage to bring us back to Eritrea and punish us for the remainder of our lives. you’d never hear again from any folks . If it’s tough for them to kidnap us, then they’re going to just kill us.”

The four players are awaiting the results of their asylum application after they were introduced by Tsehaye to the American attorney Kimberley Motley. Motley believes the choice could take a while despite the high-profile nature of their case.

“It all really depends on the Ugandan government and UNHCR,” she says. “Unfortunately there are tons of individuals from Eritrea who are seeking asylum in Uganda. It’s very typical for them.”

Two of them have contracted malaria since their arrival at their current house at the top of October and Yosief admits their spirits are low after numerous weeks trying to evade capture.

“It’s a very hard life,” he says. “We are sick. This place … it’s distant from civilisation so it’s good for cover but there are not any facilities and it’s hard to seek out enough food. Our bodies are feeling weak. We cannot contact our families. It’s very sad for us. But we are still surviving through hope.”

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Phil Parkinson straining to keep dark clouds away from Sunderland

Sunderland are unbeaten in five games and within touching distance of a play-off place in League One.

With owner Stewart Donald reiterating his desire to sell the club this week the manager’s focus is on maintaining a promotion push as high-flying Wycombe visit on Saturday

It is a wet, windy Thursday lunchtime at Sunderland’s training ground and nervous eyes rest on a learner driver honing their reversing skills within the players’ parking lot .

Back within the not so distant days when the Academy of sunshine was a Premier League practice base, suffering from Porsches and Bentleys, such a cameo would are unthinkable. Now the absence of previously prominent security sentries afford this once state-of-the-art complex a rather neglected, semi-deserted, air. With nobody staffing main reception, the building’s sheet glass front doors are locked. judi online https://www.judibolaterbaik.co

Almost three years after throwing in the towel of English football’s top tier, and deep into the second season of an unwanted League One sojourn, the consequences of some brutal cost-cutting are clearly apparent. It would, though, be very wrong to assume Sunderland is an uncared-for club.

Instead it provokes such powerful emotions that recent weeks have witnessed the eruption of an unsightly war between supporters and therefore the board, with the manager, Phil Parkinson, briefly threatening to become fatal accident before results improved and fans began arguing among themselves.

The learner’s clutch control appears infinitely less jerky than the recently chaotic, and highly charged, manoeuvres at the 49,000-capacity Stadium of sunshine .

To understand the events that prefaced the hostile fall-out from a disappointing home draw with Bolton on Boxing Day , it’s necessary to rewind to May 2018 when Stewart Donald, previously the owner of non-league Eastleigh, bought Sunderland from the American billionaire Ellis Short following two successive relegations. Donald’s initial plan involved an instantaneous return to the Championship before attracting the type of large-scale investment he, personally, couldn’t provide. Instead Jack Ross narrowly omitted on promotion and was sacked last October. Parkinson has since steered Sunderland, six-times English champions, to a historic nadir: mid-table within the third tier.

Matters boiled over on Boxing Day when involves the previous Bradford and Bolton manager’s head were augmented by a sometimes uneasy, social-media-fuelled amalgam of varied fans groups demanding Donald go too. This coalition swiftly issued a proper statement demanding he sell out .

Considering Donald has spent much of the past nine months actively, openly and forlornly attempting to seek out a buyer it seemed academic but he took the hint and, on Monday, issued an emotional club bulletin reiterating his intentions to depart.

As reaffirmations go it all appeared a touch bizarre. If appeasement was the aim it arguably merely deflected yet more pressure on to Parkinson’s team at a time once they are unbeaten in five games and within touching distance of a play-off place before Saturday’s game against high-flying Wycombe.

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