Defending African Under-17 champions Burkina Faso has failed to qualify for the continent youth soccer championships next year.
Tunisia shut out the reigning champions 3-0 last weekend to advance to next April’s tournament with a 4-2 aggregate. The regional competition takes place from April 13 to 27 in Morocco.
Joining Tunisia and hosts Morocco will be three-time winner Nigeria which beat Mali 2-0 last Sunday, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon and Botswana. The top four teams will qualify for the 2013 Under-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates that kicks off on October 17.
And, 17 Eritrean players and the team doctor absconded in Uganda following the team’s exit from the Council for East & Central African Soccer Associations (CECAFA) Cup tournament in Kampala.
Only five players and two officials boarded the team bus at the hotel to catch a flight to Asmara on Tuesday.
“We don’t know where our brothers are,” said coach Tekit Negash.
Ugandan Soccer Association’s chief executive Edgar Wilson said the missing players photos will be displayed in newspapers.
“We shall find them because they are not very far,” he said.
The manager of the hotel where the players stayed said they left on Sunday to go shopping. Five of the 17 who returned later said they were going out to visit their friends. They failed to show up at the hotel later that night.
At the 2010 CECAFA competition in Tanzania, 13 Eritrean players defected. Most of them ended up in Texas under a refugee resettlement program in the U.S.