Fourteen members of the Eritrean football team have disappeared in Uganda while playing in a regional tournament and may claim asylum in the country.
The team were taking part in the Council for East and Central Africa Football Association's (CECAFA) competition and were beaten 2-0 in their last match by Rwanda, though their future in the tournament is now in doubt after the loss of a number of their squad members.
Rodgers Mulindwa, a spokesman for the Federation of Ugandan Football Association (FUFA) said that the players in question have not been seen since Tuesday and that their actions were regrettable.
"It's true, some of the Eritrean players have disappeared. They've not been seen at their hotel since early yesterday and it's very unfortunate," he told Reuters.
It is not the first time that players from Eritrea have gone missing when playing in other countries, with 13 players claiming asylum in Tanzania in 2011 while 12 disappeared in Kenya in 2009.
Moses Watasa, who works in Uganda's Office of the Prime Minister, which is responsible for processing applications for asylum, said that the players had not yet made contact about staying in the country.
"As of now we haven't had any contact with them so we don't know their whereabouts, but it's possible they might want to seek asylum later," he explained to Reuters.