Skip to content

Ethiopian soccer great Italo Vassalo speaks out

Italo Vassalo is one of the most beloved Ethiopians of this century, on a par with Tilahun Gessesse, Abebe Bikila and others. From Emperor HaileSelassie on down, every Ethiopian loved him and his elder brother Lucciano, the captain of Ethiopia’s National Team in 1960s. Italo helped win Ethiopia’s first African Cup in 1962 by scoring against then powerful Egyptian team.

In 1991, the anti-Ethiopia tribal junta led by Meles Zenawi came to power. A few years later, using its war with Eritrea as an excuse, the junta stripped off Italo Vassalo’s citizenship and kicked him out of Ethiopia, along with tens of thousands of other Ethiopians of Eritrean origin.

In the interview below, Italo expresses his affection for the people of Ethiopia and Emperor HaileSelassie, while indicting Meles Zenawi’s regime for committing a campaign of ethnic cleansing, which is a crime against humanity, against Eritrean-Ethiopians.

56 thoughts on “Ethiopian soccer great Italo Vassalo speaks out

  1. Not only in fooball but also in so many other fields Eritreans played a major role in the making of Ethiopia. In the early 60s’, the Ethiopian National Team was composed of 9 Eritreans, most of whom have been forgotten and one only hears about Mengistu Worku and Yidnekachew Tessema. I hope people wonder who the others were and genuine Ethiopians uncover the true history of what makes Ethiopia a big coutry.

    How about the members of the Roha Band, a musical group that made the greatest impact on Modern Ethiopian Music, the majority of which were Eritreans and were deported? Isn’t there Ethiopian diaspora music/artists association. If so what have they done to honour the group’s contribution??

    I hope somebody is lisetening!

  2. I remeber when Italo and Luchiano came to Dire Dawa as teenagers to play for Cotton club of DIRE DAWA that was the best time national team in Africa

  3. What a great memory I remember when i was a kid in Dire Dawa my heros are Luchano and his brohter Italo Vasalo.and we used to sing a song .Africawee Pele Luchiano Vasalo indehume kokebu wondemu Italo.Esty zem bel lanagreh zemede dansu ybekale ye Getachew wolde.

  4. The best soccer players in ethiopian history 1 mengistu worku 2 Italo vasalo 3 luchiano vasalo 4 getachw dula(abebe).no one will replase this people.good job gash italo

  5. For me, you you are the pride of Ethiopia Italo. You, Luciano and everyone alike. It is such a shame you had to go deal with Woyanes. The biggest irony here is an entity that works tirelessly to erode Ethiopian identity judging who is an Ethiopian or not. They are scumbags and they do not represent Ethiopia.

Leave a Reply