Monday, December 21, 2009

Tour of Eritrea: Shining like Gold with Eritrean Colors.

Tour of Eritrea: Shining like Gold with Eritrean Colors.

    Overlooking the escarpments and the natural beauty of Eritrea as well as the tough up hill mountains and down hill flat course the tour of Eritrea has proven it is a top notch sporting competition to be reckoned with. In less than 20 years this cycling event has turned into an internationally recognized event by the international cycling union. A success story that has not even gotten a small coverage by the international media that would rather fabricate and write garbage stories about this young and aspiring nation. 

I must say the excellent coverage by Eritrean Television showed not only the race and its dynamics but also the beauty of the nation. Seeing the Eritrean flags moving at high speeds added so much color and with the athleticism of the cyclists flying in light speeds the view was so mesmerizing. Villages and their populations coming out to support and watch and host cyclists from 7 countries along side of Eritrean Teams A & B was absolutely a joy to watch. National cycling teams from Eritrea, Sudan, Libya, Morocco, Egypt, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia participated in this year’s version of the "Tour Eritrea”. 

Check out the link on for pictures:

As it is cycling is not a very friendly sport for blacks and Africans. As the sport grows, Eritrea is not only contributing to its growth but will soon play a major role by breaking racial barriers. The last time a big name black cyclist won a world champion was many decades ago. In 1899 Major Tyler an American cyclist despite many challenges won the world one-mile track cycling championship after setting numerous world records and overcoming strong racial discrimination. Eritrea as a new and growing African nation is also facing all types of obstacles but will overcome as it has done in the past.

Eritrea has already inspired the next generation of cyclists by creating it’s own event with partnerships from genuine friends. It is not easy to plan, strategize and host an internationally recognized event, however the event was a huge success by any standard. Like it’s nation-building process in every sector of its society the “Tour of Eritrea” is a prime example of what the future holds for the nation of a determined people.

The Tour of Eritrea will host more teams and more fans in the future adding more visitors to the country. Witnesses that will judge for themselves if Eritrea is truly what the amateur journalists say it is. Meanwhile Eritrean national teams kept home the awards from 1st place through 3rd place while the Moroccan and Egyptian teams stood 4th and 5th respectively.

Congratulations to all those who worked hard to make the event successful. 

Tour schedule: Covers some of Eritrea's cities.

For Eri-International sports blog this is Mike Seium

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Eritrean National team still intact.

     Immediately following the news of the 12 soccer players that decided to stay in Kenya, my e-mails were flooded with questions as to what happened and my answer is “I don’t know” because I am not in Kenya. What I know however is that those genuine Eritreans who asked the question out of concern for their safety and the well-being of Eritreans did so because it is indeed a legitimate concern. Then came those “VULTURES” as I like to call them. Hungry like a wolf, they started to share their joy adding more misery to their lives, by seeing the negative aspect and the idea of 12 players defecting to a place where the standard of living is no better than Eritrea.

Let’s be real, there is no doubt that these players are looking for a key to the western world and like everyone who thinks the grass is greener in the west, they will find out soon the harsh reality of life as we know it in the west. So, Kenya is being used as a tool because the corruption level there is high and the MULTI BILLION human trafficking industry can easily afford to buy and sell people in a corrupt country. Add to that the support of those who thrive on seeing the strong “NATION OF ERITREA” go down to satisfy their agendas, then it is clear that these 12 players are leaving for purely economic reasons which is not guaranteed anywhere during these economic hardship.

I have on many occasions spoken to other Eritrean players who have defected and they all have said to me that if they had to do it over again they would have stayed and pursued their soccer playing careers in Eritrea. Many of them did not know that once they get to their final destination, their lives would be miserable. Some even admitted to being coerced by organizations working to destabilize the people of Eritrea.

Amazing Media Coverage a clear indication of attacks against ERITREA.

A consorted effort by the media to shape up the psyche of the innocent minds of the outside world clearly indicates that as Eritrea progresses with it’s nation building endeavors, the attacks will continue to the highest and the defection of these players only gives ammunition to those wolves who are ready to see failure.  Meanwhile in Eritrea the TOUR OF ERITREA an internationally approved Cycling event is going well showcasing the beauty of Eritrea and it’s people. Where are the TV networks and the newspapers? How come they are not doing a story about an African nation with the unique Cycling tradition and hosting a regional event that combines participants from the Middle East and East Africa?

It is amazing to see the amount of coverage that this negative story got which clearly shows it is motivated by an agenda. A few years ago three Eritrean cyclists defected during another event and today the biggest Cycling event is being held in Eritrea and Eritreans are becoming top-notch cyclists that will one day compete in an international event.  Life goes on and more athletes will be born and developed.

Because 12 players defected it does not mean the soccer program will come to a halt but many new players will get a chance to prove their ability to compete and perform for the ERITREAN National team.

As a matter of fact I personally have spoken with players from the Diaspora who may be good enough to represent Eritrea. They all admitted that if given a chance it would be an honor to play for their nation. There is no doubt that Eritrea will one day make the African nations cup and even the world cup. And when it does many of these players that defected will look back and reflect. The highest form of recognition as an individual and as athletes is to represent your country. By winning the game against Tanzania the Eritrean national side would have advanced to the semi-finals and possibly to the finals of the CECAFA. Reports were clearly showing that the Eritrean side was one of the more talented squads. When a similar situation happened during another qualifying game in Angola the Red Sea boys struck right back in Asmara after suffering a huge loss, as they tied a world cup contending team to a goalless draw in Asmara.

Don’t let human traffickers fool you, as they don’t have the power to change a sporting nation.  If we look back into history we can see that athletic defection is not a new phenomena but something that has been used for propaganda to weaken the moral of nation. Eritreans certainly will not bow down to these types of attacks.
Everyone and their mother know that. The funny part about this story was as reported by some of those “Scooby doo” news papers and internet articles, “When the plane got to Asmara, only the two coaches were present which ended up being a huge lie.  To all the returning players I say keep your heads up and come back with a stronger squad and make Eritrea proud. You made a very smart choice.

Mike Seium

For Eri-International sports blog

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Eritrea very ugly loss to Tanzania/Hopefully Lessons learned.

    The Red Sea boys lose a very disappointing 4-0 loss to a strong and ready Tanzania team coached by Brazilian Marcio Maximo after holding the Kilimanjaro boys as they are known to a 0-0 tie at half time. Once again the adult national team comes close to a great showing and they are held back by a terrible score. Watching the highlites one would ask the question is this the same Eritrean team that tied Zimbabwe and played a good game against Rwanda and defeated the Somali team? Even the green uniforms looked different as Eritrea is known to wear blue in most cases. One player was able to score a hat trick for Tanzania and while one of the goals he scored was a lucky bounce which was meant to be a cross and ended up in the net, the rest of the goals looked like defensive mishaps.

Click on the highlites

We hope the coaches and technical advisors can learn a tough lesson for the up coming game in March against Rwanda for the qualifying round of the nations cup. Meanwhile on the bright side a lot of these players were brought up from the under 17 team that qualified for the youth championships a couple of years ago. There is no doubt with the recent success of the new under 17 teams and the game growing Eritrea will field a strong team in the very near future.

On the other hand I would like to emphasize what the Brazilian Coach says in his interview below and we hope to learn from his statements. He points out that during the week long tourney he was able to use all of his players sometimes putting in better players on the bench. If one team has 22 great players there is no reason why coaches can’t mix and match them as deemed necessary. The Eritrean side needs to field 22 players that can go in at any given moment and perform to the highest of standards and the strategy should be to use all players through out the week. It can be seen even here in the US during the one week long ERSFNA that most teams try to keep their main players for the entire week causing fatigue. Even the best players in the world need to get rest after a game.

Click on the interviews,

Mean while we hope that the Red Sea boys will pick their heads up and come back stronger than ever. 

Eri-International sports would also like to thank everyone for the support. We will continue to update you on the happenings of Eritrea and international sports related stories.


Mike Seium for Eri-Inetrnational sports blog.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Eritrea in quarterfinals/World Cup Fever/An Eritrean soccer legend speaks.

     In what was a very simple game for the Red Sea boys the Eritrean side defeated the Somali Ocean boys, as they are known by the score of 3-1 in Nairobi today. The Red Sea boys will make the quarterfinals and face Tanzania on Tuesday. Congratulations to Coach Negash Teklit and the entire national team for advancing to the next round. It is to be remembered that the Red Sea youth (under 17) team made it to the finals a couple of months ago and we hope the adult team will win the 33rd edition of the Orange CECAFA tourney.

There is no doubt in the minds of Eritreans that the Eritrean national soccer team will one day make the African nations cup and the World Cup as a participant. The game is so loved by the people of Eritrea, that during a recent trip to Asmara the world cup trophy got such a huge welcome and an awesome Eritrean hospitality. It is just a matter of time before the Red Sea boys will make their way to one of these big events. Like everything else in Eritrea the development of the game and athletics in general has seen a huge leap in a very short period of time.

Meanwhile the world cup draw took place yesterday in South Africa. Ivory Coast with one of the best players in the world and Ghana seem to be the strong favorites from the African continent while South Africa as a host may also be a good candidate along side of traditional powerhouse Cameroon. Algeria with an easier group and Nigeria are the other African sides.

Eri-TV recently conducted an interview with Eritrean super star Italo Vassalo who alongside of his older brother Lucciano represented the Ethiopian national team along side of 8 other Eritreans in the 1962 African nations cup. You might as well say that Eritrea won the cup even though the glory goes to Ethiopia. Italo in a two part series spoke to the Amharic program of Eri-TV and expressed his passion for the game and that he has no ill will towards the Ethiopian people despite his deportation from Ethiopia by the current regime in Addis.

The 1962 African Cup of nations champions with 9 Eritreans including the Vassalo brother.

In other soccer news related to Eritrea we will fill you in on the progress of Henok Goitom. There is word that the quarter finals of the CECAFA games will be televised and if we get any information here at Eri-International sports we will feel you in, until then enjoy this clip of the Eritrean national team taking on the Zimbabwe team which ended in a 0-0 tie on Day 4 of the Cecafa tourney that was played last week. Check out the link and enjoy!

For Eri-International sports blog

This is Mike Seium

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Eritrea can't seem to find a way to beat Rwanda.

     Eritrea's Red Sea boys took a 2-1 loss to Rwanda in today’s Group B match of the Orange CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup that took place in Nairobi. For some odd reason the Eritrean national team can't find a way to beat Rwanda in soccer. Today's loss marks the 6th time in a row that Eritrea has lost to Rwanda. Even as they were able to contain a very strong Zimbabwe team to a 0-0 draw that they played well in there is just something about Rwanda that seems to be getting in the way. 

                                           Eritrean national adult team from 2008

The good news is the Red Sea Boys can still qualify for the quarter finals if they beat a fairly decent Somalia team that only lost 1-0 to Rwanda. Eritrea is going to play Somalia in Nairobi on Saturday. Eritrea must get a victory over Somalia to qualify for the quarter finals as the top two teams in the three groups qualify automatically while the two best third place teams out of the remaining six teams also gain a spot for the quarter finals. If Eritrea wins it's chances of getting in will almost be sure. 

As far as Rwanda they qualify by virtue of earning 6 points while Zimbabwe will also earn a spot if they beat Rwanda. If Rwanda beats Zimbabwe and Eritrea scores more than two goals against Somalia then Eritrea can go in as a second place qualifier. We hope the Red Sea Boys and coach Negash Teklit will find a way to beat Rwanda in the future as Eritrea has to play them again for the qualifying round of the African Nations Cup taking place in Angola in 2010. 

Good luck to the Red Sea boys against Somalia and in the quarter finals when they make it.

Mike Seium

For Eri-International sports

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Soccer, Soccer & more Soccer Eritrean style

     The Red Sea Boys not the young under 17 Red Sea boys who just got done playing in the CECAFA Youth Cup championships a couple of months ago, but the big boys the Eritrean National Soccer team is participating in the CECAFA Senior Challenge cup taking place in Kenya. They have shown that they are capable of playing well as indicated in their first game of the event. They held a strong Zimbabwe team to tie in their first game of this year's version of the senior challenge cup played at Nairobi Stadium.

Eritrea and Zimbabwe drew 0-0 in their Group “B” standing. Zimbabwe is no joking matter as they are the champions of their version of regional event (COSAFA) for Southern African countries which includes Zambia, South Africa and other strong teams. Both Zambia and Zimbabwe were invited as guests for this year’s Central and East African Challenge cup (CECAFA)

Zimbabwe beat Zambia 3-1 last month to win the Cosafa Senior Challenge Cup a tournament similar to CECAFA for the Southern African regional teams. The second guest side Zambia also from the southern region has qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations 2010 in Angola after earning a 0-0 draw against Rwanda on Saturday. Zambia is no walk over either as they just defeated Asian world cup participant North Korea by the score of 4-1 in a friendly game this past weekend.

This marks the 33rd of the Council for East Africa and Central Africa Football Association tournament taking place at the National Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya. Eritrea is joined by Somalia, Rwanda and Zimbabwe in Group B and will face Rwanda in the next match on Thursday; December 3rd. Eri-International sports will keep you updated with results from the CECAFA challenge cup.

In other news Eritrea will be playing their next game opponent Rwanda in March 2010 at home and away in the first round qualifying match of the 2010 African nations cup that will be held in Angola. Meanwhile Eritrean-Swede Henok Goitom has made his come back as he played his first game of the season for La Liga side Almeria in a loss to atletico Bilbao this past weekend. We will have more on Henok as new developments happen.

In other news from the land down under, we leave you with a nice short video highlight of another Eritrean born soccer player with a very fitting name Gol Gol Mebrahtu, who is playing in the Australian first division for Gold Coast United. His skills can be seen as he set up a Penalty kick by taking on two players and passing to his teammate that was fouled in the Penalty box.

In other local news members of Eritrean community soccer teams Baltimore, Team DC & Team Alexandria joined in hands to play in an indoor soccer tournament at PGCC (Prince Georges Community College) a national championship contender in Junior college soccer. Playing against other strong teams the Eritrean team made it to the semifinals showing some beautiful display of soccer. All of the 8 players of which 7 are available to attend college have left big impressions on the coaches.  Eri-International sports has also reported on another young Eritrean-American who had a great season at College of Southern Maryland. Please read previous article on this blog titled "Meet Mulugheta Asihel: Up and coming College soccer star."

 Members of Eritrean teams from the DC metro area who participated at the PGCC international tourney.

Good luck to the Red Sea boys as they have a huge challenge ahead of them but they seem to have started off very well. 

For now this is Mike Seium for Eri-international sports blog.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Africa's World Cup must bring an African Champion.

     An African nation has never won a world cup and with some of the international game's top players today coming from Africa the chances of an African champion is likely to become a reality in South Africa this summer. I hope Africa will come away with the FIFA world cup trophy and show the world that it's time for an African team to shine. South Africa 2010 will mark the best opportunity for an African team for the first time ever. Not only is the event being held in the African continent but also there will be more African teams taking part than ever.

                      Can Drogba and Ivory Coast win the title?

The West Africans seem to be dominating this year's contingency as Nigeria in a last minute rally defeated Kenya 3-2 and with the loss of Tunisia to Mozambique 1-0, the super eagles found a way to fly higher than the Carthage eagles by securing a flight to South Africa. The other teams from the neighborhood include, Didier Drogba and the elephants of Ivory Coast, the black stars of Ghana lead by Michael Essien, and the indomitable lions who will field Samuel Eto as one of their stars. The Pharaohs of Egypt will play Algeria on Wednesday November 18th, 2009 in Sudan as they both ended up with the same amount of points for the fifth spot, while hosts South Africa have already locked in a spot.

                             The blogger with Michael Essien of Ghana.

Hassan Shehata who probably will go down as one of my favorite players ever is enjoying some success as the head coach of Egypt. He did it again as thousands of fans joined in what was an exciting game in Cairo on Saturday. The only negative thing to mention is that fans in Egypt who are too emotional attacked the Algerian bus hurting a couple of the Algerian players slightly. This should be un-accepted behavior and FIFA should warn the Egyptian federation and govt. from allowing hooligans to act that way in the future. Egypt with a 2-0 win secured a playoff game against the desert warriors to be played in a neutral country. Let us not forget the Algerians spirit of a winning attitude as they shocked the world in 1982 with a 2-1 victory over perennial powers the former West Germany that lost to Italy in the championship game. It was their first world cup and they played a role in exposing African soccer with their ability to perform at a high level.

Meanwhile the host team South Africa has a great opportunity to show that Africa is capable of hosting a good event and I pray that the media will cover the entire world cup in a fairly manner even if Africa keeps the cup at home. We are now less than seven month away from the most prestigious event in the world and it is Africa's turn to win. Hopefully the new generation of young stars can win it for all those who sacrificed for the game in the past, despite the terrible treatment the continent got over the years. It's time for Africa to shine.

Good luck to South Africa and the Africa.

For more on the results and the entire world cup stay tuned to Eri-international sports blog. Mean while our reliable sources have indicated that Eritrean Swede star Henok Goitom will be back with his team Almeria of La Liga starting next week. We will keep you informed. In other soccer news, the Eritrean National senior team is slated to participate in the CECAFA senior challenge cup to be held in Nairobi starting on November 28th, 2009. All eleven teams from the region and Zambia as a guest team will take part; meanwhile Libya has expressed an interest in joining as guest. The drawings of the tournament will take place on Wed. November 18th, 2009. We will keep you updated along with the result of the Egypt vs. Algeria game for the last spot of the world cup from the African continent.

Mike Seium

For Eri-International sports blog. 

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Valencia Spain Here comes Kelati.

     Eri-international sports has learned once again that Thomas Kelati will be going back to Spain. The sharp shooting guard/Small forward was signed with the team for the rest of this season, Valencia officially announced Monday. Valencia is the third largest city in Spain and one of the most beautiful cities on the west coast of Spain. Kelati last played for Unicaja, where he averaged 11.8 points in 16 Euroleague games last season. He had just signed with Olympiacos of Greece over the summer when his contract got voided. He made his move to the United Sates where he continued to stay fit by playing throughout the summer. He was signed with the Los Angeles Lakers and had a great stint during the pre-season.

                                 City of Valencia, Spain on the west coast of Spain.

     According to our reliable sources, "Coach Phil Jackson and the Laker organization were very impressed with his performance, but had to waive him simply because of Salary cap". Thomas has left a good impression on the Lakers and hopefully will be back playing in the NBA next season, more than likely with the Lakers. Meanwhile he has signed a one-year contract with Valencia where he will play in a tough Spanish League against his former team Unicaja. Last season Kelati tied the record for the most three-pointers made in a single Euroleague game where it has never been done in a decade. He scored nine times from behind the three-point line in a home win against Lottomatica Roma. 

                    An older picture of Kelati playing against his new team Valencia
     Thomas has strongly expressed his gratitude to all of his fans throughout the world for all their support. He hopes to come back strong next season and perform in the NBA. Keep an eye on the Spanish La Liga of basketball as well as the European League where he will be one of the top players to watch. Congratulations to Thomas Kelati and his family. Hope to see him in a Laker uniform next year.

Mike Seium for 
Eri-International sports

Friday, November 6, 2009

Meet Mulugheta Asihel: Up and coming College soccer star.

 College Athletics in the United States play a big role towards developing great citizens and possibly great athletes. As most of you know you don't have to look any further than most of the great collegiate athletes who have turned out to be professional athletes that have gone on to become the very best in their respective profession whatever it may be. It is with pleasure that I introduce to you a young man whom I have had the honor of following for the past couple of years as a student and a soccer player. 
A potential star this player has so much poise, skill and a can do attitude. He is a young man born to Eritrean parents and those who follow the Eritrean Sports Federation in North America annual sports festival may have seen him play in Dallas 2008, where the team he played for Alexandria won it's fourth title.

His name is Mulugheta Asihel and he graduated from Robert. E. Lee high school in Springfield, Virginia this past summer. Mulu as his friends know him was also on a select travel soccer team since his younger days where he excelled in every aspect of his game. His family especially his father has been very supportive in his Mulu's success and the result has been nothing but a great future for this young man. Spending lots of time traveling and also encouraging and investing in his child is something every parent should emulate. As an observer I have been watching Mulu play for a couple of years and can say that he has what it takes to be a great person but even more a great soccer player.                                                                                                                              
Mulu decided that it would be best to attend Junior college and get a great exposure before he transfers to a major four-year program. He was highly recruited by four-year schools but he decided to attend College of Southern Maryland where he has had an outstanding season as a midfielder/Forward player. College of Southern Maryland is in the Maryland Junior college Region twenty conference at the division one level. It also happens to be in the same division as my alma mater now known as Hagerstown Community College. Maryland Juco and especially region twenty has produced some of the top soccer and baseball players in the United States at every level including at the professional level. There is no doubt in my mind that Mulu has what it takes to be the best. He proved it last week when he was selected as one of the top players getting ALL STAR recognition alongside of his two team mates during the final of the region twenty conference championships, that I had the honor of witnessing. It brought me back to the good old days when my brother and I played in one of the toughest divisions. In our first year as a full fledged team, we had an incredible run of 13-3-1 losing to Charles community college currently know as College of Southern Maryland, where Mulugheta has been a star player.

Picture above: The writer of this blog sitting second to the left as member of the historic Hagerstown Junior college soccer team that went 13-3-1 in it's first year as a team representing the school.

Michael Seium for,

Eri-International sports blog.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Eritrean Americans are Americans too.

Eritrean Americans are Americans Too.

After Native Americans and the real indigenous people were unfairly shoved aside in the beginning of what we now know as America, it was immigrants that founded the modern day United States of America. The America that prides itself as the most strong and advanced nation on earth. As part of a melting pot from all continents throughout the world, members of immigrant families have contributed their share in every sector of American society. They are from Europe Africa, Asia, South America, Oceania, and Latin America. The America founded by immigrants has also done its fair share of terrible things in order to protect its selfish interests. You see, it was in the 1950’s when the very same nation that New York City marathon Champion runner Meb Keflezghi waived his flag for, the United States of America, committed a major crime against the Eritrean people by forcefully annexing it to Ethiopia. The secretary of state at that time John Foster Dulles and the State department did not foresee that one day a young Eritrean born kid would represent the United States in the Olympics or that same person would be the first American to win the New York City Marathon. Let's go back to memory lane & recite the a quote from secretary Dulles in 1952,
 From the point of view of justice, the opinions of the Eritrean people must receive consideration. Nevertheless, the strategic interests of the United States in the Red Sea Basin and considerations of security and world peace make it necessary that the country [Eritrea] be linked with our ally, Ethiopia.”
Only if more Americans knew what Eritreans had to endure during these troubled times, they would appreciate their lives more. So how did Eritreans respond back? They did not dwell on the negative but decided that they needed to do something in order to get their dignity back. They rose up and stood up to claim what was theirs. The thirty-year struggle against occupation and rampant racism molded them into a strong, hard working people, united amongst nine ethnic groups and two major religions. In the process which took more than four decades, Eritreans were also being forced to leave their homes in large numbers and join the mass migration to the Middle East, Europe and the United States from the African continent  like other immigrants before them.
Meb Keflezghi who made his way with his large family to southern California is a by product of this migration and like lots of Americans who came here to seek a better life, he went to high school in San Diego, college at UCLA where he won four NCAA titles and won a silver at the 2004 Olympics in Athens for the United States. He was well educated by the system that provided him refuge and taught him to be a good citizen. He was trained and built ready made to run in the toughest conditions right here in the USA. He took on the challenge with sheer determination, hard work and ethics. I can guarantee you that there are millions of other immigrants who had the same opportunity as he did but he happened to shine and he became a success story as a result of hardwork. His strong discipline as an individual and an excellent family value which is a huge part of the Eritrean culture & add to that some great coaching at UCLA to go along with it, Meb proved that anyone, can become the best at anything they set out to do.

                                            The writer of this blog with Eritrean American NYC Champion in 2006.
As an Eritrean American myself who has made my home here for more than 25 years, I am outraged by certain media coverage and responses about the Eritrean American runner who also happens to be a friend. Eritrean American immigrants are among the hard working population of America’s melting pot. They are well educated, they value respect for all human beings no matter where they come from, they are kind, and self reliant, all threats that they brought with them to their adopted homeland of the United States many years ago. Like millions of other immigrant Americans who have paid their dues, Eritrean Americans have been a great Diaspora that have been able to intermix their great culture and assimilate it to the lifestyle of America. They are law-abiding citizens for the most part, they are active in their communities. They in the true sense should be embraced by America as they are a classic example of the term "It takes a village to raise a child". They also happen to love sports and the writer of this blog can strongly vouch for that. Yo can even ask Meb Keflezghi.  
CNBC sports writer Darren Rovell probably wishes he did not write a racist article about the Eritrean-American champion athlete of the NY city marathon who has been demeaned and disrespected at the very least.  Rovell who claims to have run the NYC marathon failed to do his research before he pulled the trigger. CNBC's editorial managers also failed. Could it be by coincidence or purposely done to create controversy? It begs the question as to why racism is still so rampant in today’s America. As an Eritrean-American sports buff I would like to make a point and also tell the story of a great American athlete and of a racist America which we must always remind people about in order to eradicate this ugly disease.  It is the story of probably the best US athlete of the 20th Century a sportsman of melting-pot heritage, child of part Native American, Irish and French parents. His name was Jim Thorpe and he was in the 1950’s named the best American athlete by sports writers for the first half of the 20th Century. Thorpe was a multi athlete who excelled at everything he did. He won the Olympic gold in pentathlon and decathlon, and starred in football, baseball and basketball at the highest level of competition. By 1950, when diagnosed with cancer, and on March 28, 1953, Jim Thorpe died of complications from a heart attack. Only after his death was the racism and unfairness publicly recognized with which Jim Thorpe was treated. His sacrifice and ill treatment was never told while he was alive. He did not have a medium to speak up. Thank god to new media and technology articles like Rovell's and the many other racist statements that were written about Meb have been repulsed. My point in bringing Jim Thorpe into this story is because people like him are those who paved the way for other Americans to succeed and be the best they can be. The Thorpes and Jackie Robinsons and the thousands of immigrant and minority athletes are those who opened doors for some of the best athletes America has produced including Meb Keflezghi. They also opened the doors to other important positions for immigrants and children of immigrants. Look no further than the top executive of the United States of America. Meb can be put in the same category as he stands today as the top American runner. There is no doubt that he will even go down as the greatest long distance runner in American history when he is done. Racist columnists and sports writers must stop their arrogance and respect all athletes no matter what as long as they are RIGHTFULLY & LEGALY AMERICANS. Many years after the battle for civil rights and many years after so many people paid dearly we continue to witness stains of the dirty & ugly piece of Americana. Darren has apologized as a result of responses from outraged citizens of America from all walks of life. They were highly offended by what he said. He was forced to respond as follows,
All I was saying was that we should celebrate an American marathon champion who has completely been brought up through the American system. This is where, I must admit, my critics made their best point. It turns out, Keflezighi moved to the United States in time to develop at every level in America. So Meb is in fact an American trained athlete and an American citizen and he should be celebrated as the American winner of the NYC Marathon. That makes a difference and makes him different from the "ringer" I accused him of being. Meb didn't deserve that comparison and I apologize for that.
While I commend him for his apology, as a sports writer he should have done his homework. It would have been much easier to research rather than assume that another African with a weired name has just won the NYC Marathon for America. Let us not forget that, as Americans the stories that have shaped this nation into a superpower is not it’s arrogance, but it’s amazing stories of immigrants. Immigrant Americans built this nation and they will break it if not respected and treated with dignity and respect. So that we are aware, like Meb Keflezghi many immigrant Americans have played a big role in the well being of this nation and continue to do so today.

                                          The writer of the blog with Martina Navratilova an Immigrant American.
Just to name a few, Henry Kissinger, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Madeline Albright, Albert Einstein, Martina Navratilova whom I have had the pleasure of meeting. If we went further and even spoke about children of immigrants then I would not have enough space on this blog. So the point I am making, every American should celebrate Meb's victory as it is for America by an American runner who happens to be born in Eritrea.
FYI: Eritreans like other immigrants play major roles and contribute in building grass roots movements in many sports including football, running, Soccer, college woman’s and men’s basketball and more. Don’t be surprised if the next Eritrean American is an NBA or NFL star or one that will represent the US in an Olympic event. It’s bound to happen sooner than later. Sports writers and every American should embrace them and remember that it is the spirit of competition that binds humans together rather than where they came from. I want to say that I am an advocate of Eritrean American sports and will continue to enlighten people about their great achievements.
The writer of this blog is an Eritrean American sports journalist who has covered major events, including the US national soccer team, the NBA, NFL and major college sports as well as other American sports.
Mike Seium
Eri-international sports blog.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kelati may be Waived but Eritreans are proud of him.

     Eri-International sports has learned that Thomas Kelati has been waived by the Los Angeles Lakers. In 5 pre-season games Kelati averaged 1.6 points and 1.2 rebounds. His longest playing time was 8 minutes and he did not play in two games. In his last game against Golden State Warriors Kelati scored 4 points in 6 minutes, indicating clearly that he can play a role on any NBA team if given a chance. His record in Spain was spectacular and Thomas has a bright future and has a great chance to make an NBA team. It should be recalled that at Washington State University, Thomas was an ALL PAC and played alongside of some current NBA players sometimes dominating the game, and so there is no doubt with a lot of support from fans and hard work Kelati will re-appear in the NBA.

     To all who may be dissapointed about Thomas being waived from the Lakers, don't be because it is not an easy task to make the NBA let alone the world champion Los Angeles Lakers. I have been following the NBA for a long time and have also seen some of Thomas' games in college as well as in Poland and Spain and I strongly believe that Thomas can make it on an NBA team. All Eritreans should be proud of his accomplishements and wish him success in whatever he sets out to do. Keep the chin up Thomas and as the great saying goes "Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will be among the stars" 

Good luck.

Mike Seium for Eri-international sports blog.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Kelati's chances of making the Lakers look very good.

Eri-International sports blog has learned that three of the 18 players from the Los Angeles Lakers squad for this year (2009-2010)have been waived making it possible for Thomas Kelati to remain on the Lakers throughout the season. The Los Angeles Lakers have waived Mickeal Gelabale, David Monds and Michael Fey cutting the team roster to 15 players. There is also news now that Jordan Farmer has become an un-restricted free agent and could be traded any time even though he has indicated that he wants to remain in Los Angeles.
The indication we are getting is Kelati may officially become a Laker. Meanwhile in a loss to the Golden State Warriors at the LA Forum in Inglewood where the Lakers used to make their home, Kelati scored 2 points in the loss and so far has been averaging 8 minutes of playing time. The NBA is not an easy league to play in and the competition for a position on any team is not easy. During any given season, less than 500 of the world's best players get an opportunity to see action with the league's 30 teams. Those special few who make the cut are athletically gifted and determined individuals in peak physical condition. Each NBA team consists of a roster of 15 players, 12 of whom are allowed to suit up for games. A team's 5 starting players and top substitutes must be able to perform at their highest level for between 30 and 40 minutes per game. While staying prepared to enter the game at a moment's notice, less talented NBA players get far fewer minutes of playing time, often hitting the court only at the end of lopsided contests.
NBA-caliber players are highly specialized. Each team needs a starting quintet made up of a point-guard with superb ball-handling skills, a shooting guard adept at hitting long-range jumpers, a pair of forwards who can score and rebound and a center who provides a powerful physical presence near the basket. Bench players typically fill specific roles such as providing stifling defense or rapid-fire scoring. Thomas Kelati may be just the player that the Lakers are looking for to provide defense and three point shots which he has proven to excel at based on his European tour of duty.
Another indication that Kelati may be official is the fact that the NBA has finally created a statistic page with his player profile making it easy for people to follow his contributions to the Lakers very easy. Click on the following link to see his stats for now which shows he is averaging 2 points per 8 minutes a game.
Congrats to Thomas and we will be keeping an eye on him.
Mike Seium for Eri-international sports.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Kelati sees some action with the Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers the defending world Champions started their 2009-2010 season by defeating the Golden State Warriors 118-101. The game played in Anaheim California was the first ever for Thomas Kelati. The Eritrean American in his 8 minutes of action scored 2 points, grabbed one defensive rebound as he debut in his first NBA game ever. The Lakers will take on the Warriors again at the LA Forum in Inglewood tomorrow starting at 7:00.
During an after practice interview this past Tuesday coach Phil Jackson had indicated that Kelati would be on rotation to play on the Lakers second unit practice squad. There are currently 18 players on the Lakers of which 15 will be retained at the end of the pre-season. Thomas certainly has a great chance to make the squad. He is a great outside shooter, and the Lakers could certainly use a great shooter. If there are Eritreans in the Los Angeles area try to go support while also enjoying a great evening with the family at an NBA game.
Thomas' stats are listed here below.
T. Kelati 08:071-20-00-0-110110101002
Congratulations to Thomas on his first NBA game, hope there is a lot more to come.
Mike Seium
Eri-International sports blog.