Kakuma News Reflector – A Refugee Free Press

An Encounter With The Elitrean National Soccer Team

Posted in News Updates by KANERE on June 30, 2010

They left their home country as national ambassadors, flag bearers and paradigms of Eritrean glory to the outside world.

They are the crème de la crème of Eritrean soccer, with the whole world at their feet and a very bright future up for grabs, but now living as refugees in Kakuma refugee camp due to fears of returning to the country that they proudly represented at the CECAFA seniors challenge cup, what an irony?

A few months back, these young stars were big crowd pullers, making all the fans scream out their voice with dazzling skills, and talent in Nairobi Stadium drawing envy and jealousy from those who had not gotten the chance to serve their nations, Its just tragic that they would not see home again after that tournament, the resultant events relegated them straight to a camp that located in the middle of no where in the arid areas of Turkana.

The tragic story of the Eritrean National soccer team only points to one thing, in recent times that everything is possible, anyone can be persecuted irrespective of his or her status in society. These are super stars, celebrates who are at a diplomatic level in most spheres of life, but now even their status could not save them from the harsh realities of life. Now they are piled up in a shark, putting on nothing but what was left of their national team jerseys and feasting on the daily food rations from the World Food Programme (WFP) “this is the price you pay for national duty. You carry the entire nation’s hope on your shoulder and you bear the consequences” retorted one of the players. They were expected to excel to the maximum in a tournament that was eventually won by Uganda. The conditions that were set for them were rather exceedingly high for them to fulfill, in as much as they confess they offered their best. As fate would have it they did not make it and plan B was to seek for asylum.

They arrived at the UNHCR Kakuma Reception Centers under the escorts with officials from the Departments of the camp managements and were to go through the normal routine just like the all the new arrivals. Some shed tears as emotions over took them, they could not believe what had occurred to them, then the UNHCR official came to comfort them and temporally shelters was provided to them until they were not taken straight to the UNHCR protection centers from where they under went the profiling process.

They have come to face the reality of the suffering bit of the life. Most of them are proud to have gone through this experience because it offered them an opportunity to share sufferings with the disadvantaged. ” I know every one has home at one point and in the events God opens doors for me , i will advocate for the suffering refugees and concentrate on the charity walks.” a player speaking to KANERE on strict anonymous.

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