Five Eritrean Women U-20 players have gone missing at the ongoing 2021 CECAFA Women U20 Championship in Njeru, Jinja.
The CECAFA Communications Department has confirmed in a press release that the players disappeared from their Hotel on Tuesday morning.
“The matter has been reported to the Police in Jinja, and investigations are on-going,” CECAFA said adding that with the help of FUFA and Police, they are doing their best to locate the players.
Eritrea have so far lost two opening games at the ongoing CECAFA Women U20. They were beaten 1-0 in the opener against Tanzania last Saturday and fell 5-0 to Ethiopia on Monday.
Their next game is on Wednesday against hosts Uganda.
Eritrean players have had a history of disappearing during sports tournaments to seek asylum in other countries. In 2011 during a Cecafa event in Tanzania 13 Eritrean players vanished and later requested for asylum, while 12 members of the national team sought asylum in Kenya in 2009.
In 2010, during the Cecafa tournament in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 13 Eritrean players disappeared and defected. Several of those players have since ended up in Houston, Texas under a US refugee resettlement program.
In December 2019, 7 Eritrean players taking part in Cecafa Men’s Senior Challenge Cup in Uganda also disappeared after the tournament.