The Allsvenskan (Swedish Premier Football League) & The Eritrean connection.
The name Allsvenskan translated into English as the All-Swedish, is sometimes referred to by followers as Fotbollsallsvenskan is a Swedish professional league in the men’s classification of Football association clubs. It was founded in 1924, and is the top flight of the Swedish football league system, operating on a system of promotion and relegation from lower leagues within Sweden known as . It is to be recalled that some of the world’s best players have gone through this well organized system. It has also played a huge role in the development of the Swedish National team program over the years. Meanwhile the connection this league has with Eritrea runs deep as a result of immigrant Eritrean-Swedes making a huge impact over the years.
One player that had a huge influence in the Swedish Allsvenskan is none other than Eritrean national team standout Henok Goitom who has been a mainstay in the league for a long time. Henok plays for AIK known as (Allmänna Idrottsklubben) which is translated to “The Public”. He won some prestigious awards as top goal scorer and has played over 200 games making him one of the few to achieve that feat. He currently serves as the captain of the team that he played for all throughout his career. The team based just outside of Stockholm has dominated the Allsvenskan for the past decade winning the title in 2018.
Following Henok’s lead several Eritrean players have played within the Swedish league system but not many were able to reach the top flight until just a few years ago. Mohamed Saeid whose family moved to Sweden from Agordat, Eritrea at a young age grew up in the Swedish youth football system until he was discovered by the British side Fulham at age 11 during a trip for a youth tournament with his youth Swedish team known as Bollklubben forward or BK for short located in Orebro Sweden. Even though Fulham did not sign him another British team gave him his chance as West Bromwich Albion signed him until he got back to Sweden where he excelled with his team BK Forward in the lower tier of the Swedish league which got him attention by the Allsvenskan team Orebro where he chose to stay even though offers were coming in from other powerful teams. He left however to play in the United States for the Columbus Crew in the MLS where he was doing well as a defensive midfielder. The Columbus Crew traded him to the new MLS franchise Minnesota United which quickly traded him to a struggling Colorado team where he did very well with the Rapids. He felt that the MLS was no longer a stable place for him and made a transition back to Denmark as the team Lyngby BK was struggling financially. Mohamed the “Nomad footballer” finally settled with IK Sirius as an important midfielder and so far in two years is having a decent career. Meanwhile, another Eritrean star Nahom Netabay Girmai has joined IK Sirius from a lower Swedish side Varbergs Bois. Alongside Mohamed Saeid, Nahom Girmai an offensive midfielder are transforming their club IK Sirius into a strong contender in the Swedish premiere league.
However, the latest Eritrean-Swede talent that is really making headlines is another young prodigy by the name of Paulos Abraham. Paulos is showing some of the brilliant flashes that Henok Goitom and Alexander Isak showed when they started to play for AIK. The team is full of young talent and continue to be one of the top teams in the league as they continue to build with Henok the veteran still dominating the scoring this season. What we are witnessing is Henok Goitom making more history and he may one day go down as the best player to ever player in Swedish Premiere league. Even though he has played in two other leagues, his legacy will always be known in the Swedish Allsvenskan. Eri-Internationalsports.org will continue to update and share information as we see more players come out of this league, which can quickly play a huge role in helping Eritrea create a strong national team that can compete quickly in international matches and tournaments. The ENFF must look into how to utilize the opportunity as Henok Goitom also the captain of the Eritrean team can help lead the Red Sea Camels as contenders in future FIFA sanctioned matches that can help raise the rankings of our Eritrean national program.