Voice of Sport

2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying draw next month: Eritrea withdraw

South Sudan go through preliminary round without kicking a ball in their AFCON debut

THE draw for the first round of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers will be made at the CAF [African Football Confederation] headquarters in Cairo on April 27.

Meanwhile, South Sudan whose preliminary round opponents Eritrea pulled out will also know who they play in the first round of their AFCON debut.

Eritrea have pulled out of the qualifiers for Morocco 2015 CAF confirmed and no reasons were given but recent defections by players may have led to the decision.

Disappered in Kenya

Nine members of the Eritrea national football team and the coach of the squad disappeared in Kenya following a regional football tournament.

After Eritrea were eliminated from the Cecafa [Council of East and Central African Football Associations] Challenge Cup, which was won by Kenya last December, the 12 men disappeared.

It was not the first time Eritrean players from the national squad had defected abroad.

Previous year

The previous year, 17 players and the team doctor claimed asylum in Uganda, 18 months after 13 players from an Eritrean club side sought refuge in Tanzania.

And in 2009, a dozen members of the national team had also disappeared in Kenya.

Eritrea had been due to face South Sudan in the first round of the preliminary phase over two legs in April.

Additional reporting by BBC Sport