Ethiopia and Eritrea are set to play their first ever football match at any level in more than 20 years, as the Under 20 sides of the two countries are expected to meet in a friendly tournament that will be hosted in Asmara.
The tournament, dubbed the ‘Peace and Friendship Cup’ is scheduled to take place in February and will also include Djibouti and Somalia.
After the start of a bloody border war in 1998, the two countries started boycotting games against each other. In 1998, Ethiopia refused to play an AFCON qualifiers preliminary round game Eritrea. Eritrea also forfeited the 2014 Africa Nations Championship qualifier against Ethiopia, and didn’t show up for multiple CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup competitions hosted in Ethiopia.
Football leaders of the region, including Ethiopian Football Federation President Isayas Jira were gathered in Asmara last week to discuss on the technical details of the competition, with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) pledging to give $25,000 towards the organization of the event.
The Eritrean U20 National team is already in preparation for the tournament, and will host its Sudanese counterparts Today in a friendly game in Asmara expected to be led by Ethiopian match officials.
After the recent reproachment between the two countries, there have been numerous plans to hold a friendly game between the national teams and clubs of the two countries, but none have come to fruition thus far.