Eritrean National Soccer Team Leads the World in Defections

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With the World Cup set to kick off in Brazil, soccer officials in Eritrea are trying to build a national team from scratch. It’s a process that takes place almost every year, because players from the tiny East African nation keep running away en masse. More than 50 members of the Eritrean soccer team have defected in the past five years alone.

A dozen players disappeared during a tournament in Kenya in 2009, only to turn up later at the U.N. High Commission for Refugees in Nairobi. After returning home down without several stars, the coach attempted to present the loss as an opportunity. “Maybe some of the players are very childish to make the disappearance like that, but we have many players,” he is quoted as saying in the book Thirty-One-Nil. Read more…

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