Qualification history
The Eritreans first entered FIFA World Cup™ qualifying in the run-up to Korea Republic/Japan 2002, and though their history is hardly bejewelled, they have managed to post home draws with Nigeria, Sudan and Rwanda despite going out in all of their head-to-head ties.

The team
After losing the return leg against Rwanda 3-1 in Brazil 2014 qualifying, Eritrea entered the regional CECAFA Cup in 2012 and 2013 but finished bottom of their group. A lack of matches and national team players and preparation seem likely to hamper the side as they think about a potential Cinderella run to Russia 2018.

The coach
Negash Teklit is regarded as one of the greatest Eritrean footballers and rose to prominence in 1987 when he helped Ethiopia to a first success in the CECAFA Cup and earned himself the nickname of 'The Lion' in the process. Having been in charge of the Red Sea Boys for several years, Teklit has been in the unfortunate situation of having to rebuild a team virtually from scratch.

The stat
3
The number of draws secured by Eritrea out of six all-time qualifying matches.