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Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) Red Sea Boys[1]
Association Eritrean National
Football Federation
Confederation CAF (Africa)
Head coach Negash Teklit[2]
Home stadium Cicero Stadium
FIFA ranking 163
Highest FIFA ranking 121 (August 2007)
Lowest FIFA ranking 189 (October 1998)
Elo ranking T157
Home colours
Away colours
First international
Eritrea Eritrea 1 - 1 Sudan 
(Khartoum; June 26, 1992)
Biggest win
 Eritrea 3 - 1 Somalia 
(Nairobi, Kenya; 5 December 2009)
Biggest defeat
Ghana Ghana 5 - 0 Eritrea Eritrea
(Dakar, Senegal; February 28, 1999)
Angola Angola 6 - 1 Eritrea Eritrea
(Luanda, Angola; March 25, 2007)

The international association football team of Eritrea is controlled by the Eritrean National Football Federation (ENFF). It is nicknamed the Red Sea Boys. In its short history, it has not qualified for the finals of the FIFA World Cup or the African Nations Cup.



When Ethiopia won the 1962 African Cup of Nations, most of the squad were Eritrean.[3] The Eritrean People's Liberation Front gained de facto control of Eritrean territory by 1991. De jure independence did not come till a UN-supervised transition completed in 1993; however, an Eritrean team was invited to a friendly tournament in Sudan in 1992.[4] Eritrea participated in the 1994 CECAFA Cup, organised by the Council for East and Central Africa Football Association,[4] even though the ENFF was not founded until 1996.[5] The first full international was in the 1998 CECAFA Cup,[4][6] the year the ENFF joined the CAF[7] and FIFA.[5] They participated in the qualifying rounds of the 2000 African Nations Cup and the 2002 FIFA World Cup, and subsequent editions until 2008.[4] They have also appeared intermittently in the CECAFA Cup.[4][8]

In the first round of qualifying for the 2002 World Cup, they were drawn against Nigeria, and were defeated 4–0 in the away leg,[9] after a goalless draw at home.[10] Captain of the team was Debesai Ghierghis Ogbazghi. The coach was Yilmaz Yuceturk.[9]

In the first round of qualifying for the 2006 World Cup, they were drawn against Sudan and lost the first leg 3–0,[11] before another goalless draw in Asmara.[12] The coach was Eritrean Tekie Abraha.[11][12]

In qualification group 6 for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, under the guidance of Romanian Dorian Marin, Eritrea finished second behind Angola, failing to qualify for the final tournament. They beat Kenya twice and drew at home to Angola.

Recent problems

The oppressive political regime of President Isaias Afewerki has resulted in a high number of refugees from Eritrea.[13][14] Athletes have availed of the opportunity to abscond provided by travel to competitions abroad.[15] Four players of Red Sea FC defected after a CAF Champions League 2006 match in Nairobi, Kenya,[16] and up to 12 members of the national side after the 2007 CECAFA Cup in Tanzania.[13][17]. Another 6 players sought asylum in Angola in March 2007 after a game in the qualification group 6 for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations[18][19]. Three more players from the national team sought asylum in Sudan[20].

Eritrea withdrew from the 2008 CECAFA Cup,[2] and from the common qualifying tournament shared by the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2010 African Cup of Nations;[21]. Given the number of players seeking asylum, the Eritrean government began requiring athletes to pay a 100,000 nakfa surety before traveling abroad[16].

Eritrea returned to the 2009 CECAFA Cup in Nairobi. A young squad was assembled with just 12 days' training.[2] In Group B, they gained a surprise draw with Zimbabwe,[1] lost narrowly to Rwanda,[22] and beat Somalia 3–1.[23] They were easily beaten 4–0 in the quarter-finals by Tanzania.[2] Twelve squad members failed to report for the return flight, and sought the assistance of the Refugee Consortium of Kenya.[13][14] They are believed to be in hiding in Eastleigh, an eastern suburb of Nairobi home to many immigrants.[24] Nicholas Musonye, the secretary-general of CECAFA, feared that the government might react by refusing to let the team travel abroad in future.[14]. The twelve players were later granted interim asylum by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Kenya[25].

World Cup record

African Nations Cup record

Current squad

As played at the 2009 CECAFA Cup in Kenya. The squad list is sourced from various news reports from matches and is incomplete.


Yosief Zeratsion[23][22]
Ambair Sium (18)[26]


Abraham Tedros[1]
Nevi Ghebremeskez[27]
Alemayo Ayele[1]
Samuel Ghebrehiwet[27]


Filmon Tseqay[23]
Yonatan Goitum (20) [23]
Mehari Shinash[23]
Ermias Wolday[22]
Bruk Asres[1]
Jemal Abdu[27]
Yohannes Tilahun[27]
Hermon Teklerb[28]
Srafel Tesfamichael[28]


Isaias Andberhian[23]
Testfaldet Goitom (10) [1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Pilipili, Oscar (12 December 2009). "Zimbabwe held 0–0 by Eritrea". The Standard. Nairobi. Retrieved 15 December 2009.  
  2. ^ a b c d Wandera, Gilbert (9 December 2009). "Tanzania hit Eritrea to make semi-final". The Standard (Nairobi). Retrieved 15 December 2009.  
  3. ^ "Goal Programme - Eritrean National Football Federation - 2002". Football in Eritrea. FIFA. Retrieved 15 December 2009.  
  4. ^ a b c d e Courtney, Barrie (31 January 2008). "Eritrea International Matches". RSSSF. Retrieved 15 December 2009.  
  5. ^ a b "Eritrea on". FIFA. Retrieved 15 December 2009.  
  6. ^ "Eritrea Matches From 01.01.1872 To 30.11.2010". FIFA. Retrieved 15 December 2009.  
  7. ^ "Eritrean National Football Federation (ENFF)". CAF. Retrieved 15 December 2009.  
  8. ^ Stokkermans, Karel (11 December 2009). "East and Central African Championship (CECAFA)". RSSSF. Retrieved 15 December 2009.  
  9. ^ a b "First stage: Nigeria - Eritrea 4:0 (2:0)". 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan Preliminaries. FIFA. Retrieved 16 December 2009.  
  10. ^ "First stage: Eritrea - Nigeria 0:0". 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan Preliminaries. FIFA. Retrieved 16 December 2009.  
  11. ^ a b "Play-off: Sudan - Eritrea 3:0 (0:0)". 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany Preliminaries. FIFA. Retrieved 16 December 2009.  
  12. ^ a b "Play-off: Eritrea - Sudan 0:0". 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany Preliminaries. FIFA. Retrieved 16 December 2009.  
  13. ^ a b c Wyatt, Ben (15 December 2009). "Kenyan police search for missing footballers". London: CNN. Retrieved 15 December 2009.  
  14. ^ a b c Odula, Tom (15 December 2009). "12 Eritrea soccer players defect during tournament in Kenya; UN will hear case". Canadian Press. Retrieved 15 December 2009.  
  15. ^ Pflanz, Mike (15 December 2009). "Eritrean football team missing after match in Kenya". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 15 December 2009.  
  16. ^ a b "Eritrea players go missing in Kenya". AFP. 14 December 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2009.  
  17. ^ "Official: Players say death awaits them in Eritrea". 16 December 2009. Retrieved 17 December 2009.  
  18. ^ "Eritrean footballers join row of asylum seekers". 27 March 2007. Retrieved 15 December 2009.  
  19. ^ "Angola considers asylum claims". BBC. 28 March 2007. Retrieved 17 December 2009.  
  20. ^ "Three Eritrean Players Seek Asylum in Sudan". Sudan Vision. 25 November. Retrieved 18 December 2009.  
  21. ^ "Eritrea withdraw from qualifiers". FIFA. Tuesday 25 March 2008. Retrieved 15 December 2009.  
  22. ^ a b c Toskin, Robin (4 December 2009). "Eritrean goalkeeper’s effort not good enough". The Standard (Nairobi). Retrieved 15 December 2009.  
  23. ^ a b c d e f "Eritrea crush Somalia as Rwanda pip Zims". The Standard (Nairobi). 6 December 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2009.  
  24. ^ Xinhua (16 December 2009). "Kenya Searches for 12 "Missing" Eritrean Players". CRI. Retrieved 15 December 2009.  
  25. ^ Ombati, Cyrus (18 December 2009). "12 Eritrean footballers granted asylum". The Standard. Retrieved 18 December 2009.  
  26. ^ Kitula, Sammy (8 December 2009). "Tanzania Hit Eritrea for Four to Reach Semis". Retrieved 18 December 2009.  
  27. ^ a b c d Okinyo, Collins (4 December 2009). "Rwanda through to Quarter Finals". michezo net. Retrieved 16 December 2009.  
  28. ^ a b Chande, Zena (8 December 2009). "Kilimanjaro Stars Cruise Into Semis". Retrieved 16 December 2009.  

External links


Simple English

Association Eritrean National Football Federation
Confederation CAF
World Cup
Appearances 0

Eritrea national football team is the national football team of Eritrea.


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