Kenya appeared to enjoy an undue advantage during Wednesday's 1-0 win over Eritrea in the semi finals of the U20 Cecafa Challenge Cup in Uganda after five Eritrean players disappeared from their team's camp.
A Yosief Mebrahtu own-goal settled a contest that left Eritrean coach Haile Efrem with only 14 players, instead of 18, to choose from.
"It was not an easy match and the first half belonged to Eritrea. They created chances and our goalkeeper once again rescued us in crucial moments," explained Kenya coach Stanley Okumbi.
Kawowo Sports has reported that the tournament joint top-scorer Yoseif Tesfai Mewael is among the players who have fled the Eritrean camp.
Others include Simon Asmelash, Hermon Fessehaye and goalkeeper Girmay Hannibal.
The players are reported to have deserted the team's hotel in the resort town of Jinja.
The missing players are believed to be seeking asylum.
They all missed Tuesday's training but Efrem downplayed their absence, claiming that they were unwell.
Eritrean footballers have in the past taken the opportunity of foreign trips to flee and seeking asylum in foreign countries.