Hot Blog & Hot Shots: D.C. Soccer Tournament

Hot Shots: D.C. Soccer Tournament

By Tadias Staff
Photos by TF & Tadias

(Updated Monday, July 7, 2008)

Washington, DC (Tadias) – North America’s largest African soccer tournament, hosted by the Ethiopian Sport Federation of North America (ESFNA) was held in the nation’s capital this year. The Washington D.C. Metropolitan area is home to the second largest Ethiopian population outside of Ethiopia, and tens of thousands of Ethiopian immigrants attended the event on July 4th weekend.

This year’s vendors were particularly enthusiastic about Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Products sold in booths at the tournament site ranged from Obama t-shirts, a photo booth with Obama wearing a traditional Ethiopian shawl, and even Obama juice.

Other vendors used their booth to host traditional coffee ceremonies, sell children’s books, and food while music blasted simultaneously from competing vendor booths. A large tent had been set up at the center of the vendors area where people would flock to take cover from occasional rain.

Friday nights line-up of music artists at RKF stadium included Tilahoun Gesesse, Mahmoud Ahmed, Kuku Sebsibe, Gossaye, and Mike-E.

Here are hot shots.

Above: Ababa Tesafye attended the event as guest of honor. He celebrated his
birthday on July 4th. The announcer did not mention the beloved children’s television
entertainer’s age. People familiar with Ababa Tesfaye say he does not know the year
he was born.

At the Ethiopians for Obama booth. We even spotted a vendor selling Obama Juice.
At the international Ethiopian Women Association booth.
From Left: Meron, Asse, Tseday (Tadias), Liben (Tadias)

Related: D.C. Soccer Tournament to Offer Family Friendly Celebration

32 Responses to “Hot Blog & Hot Shots: D.C. Soccer Tournament”

  1. 1 Helen Ambaye Jul 3rd, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Wow, can’t wait to get there tomorrow!!!!

    Helen from California

  2. 2 Begudu Jul 3rd, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    ESFNA is a useless organization that is run by thugs who have no respect to intellectual property or community prosperity. Having a good time is what is expected from hard working people, but we have to think farther than one july week a year and see what really helps our image in US. I dare the ESFNA people to donate their proceeds from this tournament to the real Ethiopian people that struggles with food shortage, AIDS, inflation. I also dare the hard working people who are participating right now to look deep down and investigate the contribution they made to ESFNA and the result of it. If your intention is to fatten the wallets of ESFNA officials please reserve your flight for the next tournament ahead of time, you need the money to feed the beast, but if your intention is to help your people, have a car wash in the corner and send it to “save the children’


  3. 3 Timnit Giorgio Jul 3rd, 2008 at 7:35 pm


    I don’t want to say you are a moron, but you come close to it. Let’s say you are useless.

    What the hell are you talking about? ESFNA is a non-profit organization just like millions of others like it in America. It is organized to hold an annual soccer tournament. It is not the government of Ethiopia. They have no responsibility to feed the hungry in Ethiopia, as the Summer stage concert organizers in New York are not required to shelter the homeless in America. Same thing, baby. This is called non-profit 101 U.S.A. That’s why you sound like an idiot. You don’t know apple from oranges about non-profits.There are fine Libraries in Seattle, and I suggest you hit the books to learn more how non-profit organizations operate in the United States. I am not sure how it works in Ethiopia, but ESFNA, as I understand it, is an American Non-profit organization.

    By the way, I have a question for you, how much is your annual contribution to ESFNA? Trust me, if you can afford to give some green, you will have a say in how the organization works. That’s America for you, buddy!

    Now, on the bright side, you also as Mr. Bugudu have rights here in America. You can start your own non-profit organization in Seattle today. You can say your mission is to be a useful organization that is not run by thugs who have no respect to intellectual property or community prosperity. The new organization believes having a good time is what is expected from hard working people. And it will make sure that we don’t have to think farther than one July week a year and see what really helps our image in US. And MR. Begudu’s new organization will donate its proceeds from the organizations activities (which includes mini soccer tournament) to the real Ethiopian people that struggles with food shortage, AIDS, inflation. MR. Begudu’s new organization will also dare itself and the hard working people who are participating to look deep down and investigate the contribution they make to my organization and the result of it. The New organization will make sure that the intention is not to fatten the wallets of MR. Begudu and its officials.

    Mr. Begudu’s new organization can use the following invitation to invite people next year:

    “Please reserve your flight for the next tournament ahead of time to Seattle, you need the money to feed the beast, but if your intention is to help your people, have a car wash in the corner and send it to my organization.”

    Here you go Mr. Begudu, you have your mission statement and invitation for next year. Go and register your organization today. And yes, you can make yourself Chairman. That’s the beauty of America, my friend. Get off your bottom and do something for a change. Relax…take a chill pill. Maybe have a sip of wine…whatever rocks your fancy. But, please, please, stop crying, and start swinging. Don’t age in front of your screen.

    Your Sis from Brooklyn!!!!

  4. 4 Tizita Jul 3rd, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    Begudu, I must say I don’t share your bitter view of the event. The idea behind the tournament is for Ethiopians to get together. And it does just that. And by doing so, it creates an opportunity for the “meeting of the minds”. Some spend time making personal connections with friends and family, some make business contacts and others work towards humanitarian, political or religious goals. Oh, and a few actually watch the soccer games. But ESFNA does its part by creating the forum for people to come together. What they do after that is upto each group and each individual. To that extent, I find the event to be fun and useful too. But it is not for everybody.

  5. 5 begudu Jul 4th, 2008 at 12:18 am

    My sis Timnit, Now you done hating me, let me expalin myself so you have more opportunity to hate me in this weekend. A valid argument is not acheived by repeating the words of a person you are trying to contradict, it is only acheived by intellectual argument that shines once shortcomings without prejudice. Tizita’s point can be an example to you. I am not talking about the government of Ethiopia or great opportunities America offers to set up a non profit organization so i can scam the world in the name of my country. Try to set up a meeting with your beloved ESFNA boys(cause they are all boys Timnit) and discuss there contribution to Ethiopia and then lecture me about your love.

    I know the tournament helps to get people together so as baptismals, leksos or weedings.


  6. 6 Daniel Jul 4th, 2008 at 7:56 am

    Timnit, my sister, you are really out of line. I’m sorry to see that the comments here slipped into such infantile territory. Here’s a shocker — both Tizita and Begudu are right! Chew on that…

  7. 7 Tizita Jul 5th, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    Begudu, it sounds like you have personal beef with the people at ESFNA. Perhaps you can share you experience with your Tadias family.

  8. 8 Gigi Jul 7th, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    i did not IN PROTEST OF ESFNA, cowards in my eyes

  9. 9 Demrew Tizazu Jul 7th, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    It was a great event. I just returned from the soccer tournament. Parking was a rip off. Other than that, as always, it was wonderful to see long lost friends.
    I must agree with Timinit and Tizita in substance, but Mr. Begudu also has a point. Although his name calling was not productive and will not get us no where.
    Yes, a lot more can be done besides gathering every year to party.
    The big questions is what?


  10. 10 Timnit Giorgio Jul 7th, 2008 at 6:14 pm


    Begudu’s chickens are coming home to roost. … IT’S STILL EVERYONE ELSE’S FAULT.

    You are sounding indignant and crying fowl after you launched your attack using insulting language. I am glad you know how it feels. ESFNA is not some abstract item. It is an organization made of human beings. So, if you have a point to make, do so respectfully. Please spare us the insult.

    Now, having said that, I don’t totally disagree with you, Mr. Begudu. I just don’t like your tone, that’s all. It is too negative and counterproductive.

    I agree with Tizita that you should share with us your personal experience with ESFANA. Maybe, we might learn a thing or two.

    My weekend was fantastic!! I must say that I do have few questions to ESFNA, however. First though I must point out that managing to pull off such an extraordinary event at RFK with an estimated 37, 000 people attending is no joke. So ESFNA must be commended for gathering and creating a place of celebration for Ethiopians in America.

    Here are my questions?

    Where exctly does all the revenue generated at these tournaments go? People were paying $20 per day to get into the stadium. 37, 000 people on July 4th paid $20 each to get in. That’s a lot of money for only one day, folks!

    Plus, there are large sponsorship dollars going to ESFNA from companies like Western Union (amount unknown), Ethiopian Airlines (Amount unknown), and From Shiek Alamoudi ($450,000)…AND much, much, more.
    Now, after all expenses are paid, what is the profit for ESFNA?
    ESFNA is non=profit (gets tax break in this country), so they should give the answer).

    Are the board members paid salary? If so, how much?

    Now, does ESFNA help other Ethiopian or does it sponsor social programs? If so, what are they? If not, why not?

    I propose that ESFNA establish a $100, 000 annual soccer scholarship to college students. It should award at least 10 students each year for up to $10,000 per student. I am sure they can afford it. But, do they have the will??

    I would love to hear more questions…

    Mr. Begudu, I am on your side. Of course, if you can make a valid argument without insults.

    Peace out from Brooklyn!

  11. 11 Begudu Jul 7th, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    Hello, I have to say this coversation is starting to take shape in a good way. I apologize for sounding insulting and disrespectful. I just wanted to sum it up by calling them thugs because they operate like one. I have no personal beef with no one from ESFNA or know them personally, It is quite hard to make a reasonable conversation with this guys because they act like ‘derg officials’ running around with there bull horns and multiple ID cards. To get to know them requires conversation and i wasn’t the trusted one, may be it is because i don’t have greens to show like Al Amoudin or someone they consider celebrity.

    That said, here is how ESFNA come to organize this big tournaments, (at least from my expriance in Seattle) Most cities are eager to host this tournaments in hope to maximize sales and benefit from the tournament. So local Ethiopians knock doors of city officials to secure this arenas so the ‘derg abals’ choose the city for that years tournament. In Seattle, locals campaigned Mr Paul Allen, the owner of Seahawks and Seahawks stadium and secured the stadium for ESFNA officials for incredbly cheap price. Thanks to Mr Paul Allen for helping Ethiopian community.

    Local busineses in Seattle wanted to get the piece of the pie and prepared for the tournament, some hired more staff members to accomodate the out of town guests But ESFNA officials changed the tourament schedule (start late and end late at 9pm) leaving the guests short time to change and go out to town, so the guests chose to stay at there hotels where ESFNA officials help to put together a show with an individual who worked with them at the double tree hotel (where ESFNA officials stayed for free)

    This continued for throughout the tournament, I have a solid case and witnesses in Seattle, to vouch for this.But when everything is said and done, ESFNA officials left town with shit load of money and some merchants in Seattle lost thousands of dollars.

    My sad memory of Seattle is when a single mother return fro the door because she cant afford to buy tickets to attend. (isn’t the contribution from companies and Al Amoudin cover the charge for her)

    I called them thug because they act like one. I know there are more stories out there. People have a right to go and spend there money, i will save mine to help other that need it. Like the Festula foundation.


  12. 12 Upset Jul 8th, 2008 at 7:32 am

    Thank you, Timnit Giorgio, for enlighten Begudu and his likes. I am not surprised that there are people like him who always criticize those who work hard for their community. He should applaud the ESFNA officials for giving him a reason to go to D.C to have a good time, in his cause I don’t think he had a good time since he is grouching about every little thing.

    Upset in Dallas

  13. 13 Begudu Jul 8th, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    Well let me see, How can I upset a person who is already upset. Yes.. let him be. let us stay in the substance. Do you think what i wrote last night is wrong? or do you want to prove me wrong? I will be happy to hear your side and agree or disagree. I like to give ESFNA officials a chance to defend themselves. I also don’t need to get a reason from ESFNA to travel to DC. My upsetted brother!


  14. 14 Senait Haillu (Jersey Girl) Jul 8th, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    My big respect to Begudu. Thank you for your apology and for stating your case in a respectful manner. You are not stubborn and thin skin like most Abeshas, so you were able to change the tone in the right direction. Thank you.

    Wow, your story sounds so similar to what happened in Dallas, L.A., San Francisco, etc, etc.

    We all agree that this organization has lost reality and the board members are acting like fat cats with our money.

    What is the solution?

    I say we involve experienced attorneys or law firms and file a class action law suit against ESFNA. For what, I don’t know…But I am certain the lawyers will come up with something.

    That should get their attention…

    Here is another idea that should make ESFNA bend backwards to accommodate its customers: Competition (start another Little Ethiopia tournament/festival). Do it bigger and better.

    Ke akberot gar,
    Senait (Jersey Girl)

  15. 15 Mastewal Jul 9th, 2008 at 8:21 am

    First of all I would like to be clear that I am in no way affiliated with this organization. But I am saddened to see when we all miss the point. Secondly, I would like to know why people in general concentrate on the negative. Before scrutinizing this people lets see what good they are doing. As it is stated in their site they only not provide the platform for Ethiopians in diaspora to meet but they are extending their hand to Ethiopia in helping places that are being affected by the draught and before by the flood. Moreover, they have a scholarship program where they sponsor students and so on…. I found all this information from their website Why can’t we celebrate the fact that this people are providing us the opportunity to meet with others like us who are home sick and could not afford to go back and the closest thing they can have to Ethiopia is this gathering. No one in this world is perfect, therefore, I would not be surprised if these people have flaws but after all they are people just like us.

    You see the point I am getting at is, I can look at your life and tell you what you are doing is wrong because I am seeing it from my point of view but for you that thing you are doing is working fine in your life and don’t see and flaw to it. The same goes in my life you can tell me I doing things wrong but in my eyes they are right. So what I want to say here is that there is no right or wrong it is just a matter of seeing things from a different perspective. Hence instead of calling names or questioning their purpose, first investigate their intention and see if you can understand them you don’t just stay away from them. It is that simple. Actually, if you see the organizations mission statement, their main purpose is not to help the poor in Ethiopia and they have absolutely no obligation to do so unless they are morally driven and want to do so. The only thing that a person can do if they are not in agreement with their objective is to stay away. I don’t see any point in wasting your energy and time in suing them or even thinking of suing them when you don’t even know what you are suing them for.

  16. 16 Tizita Jul 9th, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Let me see if I get this right. ESFNA came up with an idea to make money, they acted upon it, it worked, and now people (some people) are up in arms because of it? I say good for them, and we should learn from them. Let’s keep in mind this soccer event started very small. It eventually grew to the size that it is because it is an idea whose time has come. I’m not saying they should not support community initiatives (such as the scholarship idea and the such). But the proposal has to be made to them with the understanding that it is their money (for which they worked) and the decision to give it away is theirs, and theirs only. I don’t know the ESFNA people personally, so I cannot comment on name callings such as “fat cats” or “thugs”. But they did not underestimate the power of the Ethiopian people in North America. Instead of the tired ‘ol saying “yabesha neger” or the tired sentiment expressed by Senait of “most Abesha” (whenever it comes to any weakness), they saw a potential in their people. And that makes their success and example of what we can do for each other. Senait, I must call you on your suggestion to sue ESFNA and you don’t even know why. ESFNA made some money and you want a piece of the pie. What have you done to earn that piece of pie?


  17. 17 Begudu Jul 9th, 2008 at 10:46 am

    Oh Yes, this conversation just added a couple of great minds and so far it is going good.

    here is the core mission statement i found in the ESFNA website…”The Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America (ESFNA) is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization founded in 1984 to promote amateur soccer and cultural events within the Ethiopian community in the North America. Its goals include providing positive role models for the youth, promoting goodwill between the Ethiopian communities in North America and creating a bridge where people from Ethiopia and North America can interact in a mutually beneficial manner. In addition to the sports event, the Federation also promotes cultural activities to provide opportunities for Americans to learn more about Ethiopia’s culture and history.”

    so now let us break down each of the above mentioned missions and see if ESFNA fulfilled them or going to fulfill them. I am aware of the fact that mission statements are goals that one strive to fulfill not already fulfilled, so my point is to see if ESFNA is heading that way.

    ESFNA did really contributed to promote soccer in north america, It is because of ESFNA most of the teams get together and play every year. That needs to be applauded and supported. We need to give credit to the teams for raising money to make it to the tournament and for sharing beds amongst each player for a week.
    I have to pass the cultural events under question because one can define cultural events in different way it is hard to cover it in this reply.

    ok Positive role model for youth, i don’t seriously believe ESFNA created a positive role model for the is actually created the opposite. First of all ESFNA is all men club, it have no women participation in the leading circle..what kind of role model they can be for my daughter. ESFNA also charges a lot of money to participate it discourages young people to participate. We live in North America, We are born in Africa, there is a cultural disconnect between us and our childrens, we need to think deep and wide to help the cultural gap.

    Promoting Good will between Ethiopian Communities…They fail flat in my account on this one. As i mentioned in my previous message. ESFNA comes to town and leaves with shit load of money, while the state that sponsored it loses it’s good will. (SEATTLE)

    So here it is.

    I am not saying let us sue them, or hate them. All i am saying is, they dont get my money.


  18. 18 Angry Father Jul 9th, 2008 at 6:37 pm


    ESFNA is out of control. This tournament is expensive. As Demrew mentioned, not only was parking a rip off, the whole thing was a rip off. I have two beautiful girls (5 and 6) and I want them to grow up connected to their Ethiopian culture. My wife and I are not the most educated people, but we are god fearing and hard working people. We both work two jobs to support our family. And everything we do is for our children. There is nothing more we love than our daughters. We both took time off from work (my wife doesn’t even get paid for the time off) so our children can taste a piece of their culture.

    Guess what? we arrived there on Wednesday and I have to pay $10 for parking and $20 each to get into the stadium for my wife, her 19-year old brother (who is staying with us) and myself. And once we are inside, the kids have to eat, etc, etc, everything is money, money, money. At night my young brother in-law wants to go out…another $35 for the door and spending money.

    Geez, do they think I am Donald Trump? I know it might not seem that much for some people, but to some of us it is very expensive.

    Now, we hear the richest man in Ethiopia just gave ESFNA $450,000. Then why can’t they make this Sh@#$%T FREE.

    Why not Alamoudi sponsor the door fee for my family??????????

  19. 19 Truth Jul 10th, 2008 at 11:02 am


    I agree with you. Everything you mentioned is the truth.
    Most of us who did not go would have loved to go if the event was about helping the poor in our homeland. That’s why the stadium was empty as you can see in the photos.

  20. 20 Timnit Giorgio Jul 10th, 2008 at 11:27 am


    You can make your argument without twisting the truth. That’s elementary. I was there and according to the organizers who made a public announcement, “over 37, 000″ people attended the event. I mean you can see it. It looked like Ethiopians were taking over D.C. Those who hanged out around U street know that Abesha’s were every where…!!!

    The truth is, in terms of crowd, this was a tremendous success. No questions about it.

  21. 21 Begudu Jul 10th, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    Well, Let me conclude my point by thanking all of you, especially Tadias for giving us this medium so we can agree, disagree or contact one another. I am also greatful for all of you for your very valuable and important feedback. If in a future we need to establish our own tournament where families come and enjoy free music, learn about their country, meet artists, musicians, fellow ethiopians from every corner of the world, discuss pressing issues of Ethiopia…this is the place to start that. I am supporter of Tadias, I met Liben a couple of times and discussed with him multiple times. he and his staff worked in various issues that is crucial and important for the diaspora and Ethiopia. If you guys really think about this discuss it with your readers and start the conversation.

    That said, here is why i am pissed off about what is going on now in here with the diaspora and what is happening back home. I will completely stop talking about ESFNA now.

    I am very much shocked by the utter silence from all of us about the life condition in Ethiopia now. It is always hard to get my point across without sounding like some anti-or pro government hack. I am not a politician and i am not for or against Ethiopian government, what i am is a concerned Ethiopian. worried for the poor, the voiceless and the starving. My mind is about to explode from guilt every time i stop by starbucks to fill my mug with drip coffee because i know somewhere in Ethiopia, a little kid of same age with my baby girl rolls his or her teary eyes out of hunger.

    We begged the world when i was a little kid and we are begging when i am old. We are for sure planning to beg in my retirement and there is a good chance my future 20th funeral anniversary will be overshadowed by food crisis in Ethiopia. it is killing me to see that my contribution is useless and i can’t even convince my fellow ethiopians to forgo summer vacations so there fellow citizens eat. it is not cool when our prime minister is a constant guest in G8 summits as the symbol of poverty.


    If you feel me send a what you can to your cousin or friend. You help your family i help mine, we are not helping them all but we are doing something.

    I love you all, sorry if i sound preachy, i am just sad.


  22. 22 DJ Jul 14th, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Dear Angry Father,

    I feel for the trouble you have went through just to give your family a chance to experience the Ethiopian culture. Even if I didn’t go to the even I really felt your frustration. As a common citizen who is very well off and is trying to learn his Ethiopian culture in his late 20′s, I would be glad to pay for your entry ticket for your next trip to the event next year.

    Just reading this blog it looks like most people have questions about the organizers of this event. One of the biggest problem with non-profit organizations is that some of them are just put together to by pass or take advantage of the taxes. I believe this is something people can force ESFNA to show their money flow and salaries of employees to the organization. If someone reports ESFNA to the District Attorney or Attorney General they will make sure everything is legit. Because of the ESFNA’s non-profit status their financial statements should be open to the public ( I’m not sure to what extent).

  23. 23 Tizita Jul 14th, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    While I sympethize with “Angry Father” and all others who could not afford the parking and cover charge to the event, I would like to remind people that this is only one of many ways you can bring your children in touch with their Ethiopian heritage. In fact it is one of the least effective ways to do so. Your children’s identity as Ethiopians lies in what you teach them at home. And secondly, if they get to spend time with Ethiopian families near them. A crowded event that happens once a year is hardly the place for any real educational experience.

    Everyone who said “if the event was to help the poor in Ethiopia, we would go gladly” must not have tried to organize or even attend any such event. If they did, they would know how poor the turn outs are from our community. Not because people don’t hear about it, but because they are not used to attending such events. Any of the AIDS walkathons, any of the book drives, the scholarship fund raising efforts, the health awareness days, orphanage support organizations, etc. have very low turn out to their events. So, all of you that are up in arms over the ESFNA’s financial success, you should turn your attention and money to these groups that are already in existance to support the noble causes that you claim to stand for (and perhaps I will see some of you there). ESFNA is making money because they do what our community is ready for….some care free fun once a year! This is not their fault, it is just what the people want. Is that a crime?

  24. 24 Katelo Jul 14th, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    Begudu I don’t care what others say. I agree with you 100%. “ESFNA is a useless organization that is run by thugs who have no respect to intellectual property or community prosperity”. People go there to party and waste their hard earned money. I don’t see any point in their organization. I don’t support it nor do i attend. I know as someone mentioned it it is a good way to get in touch with your long lost friends, but that can be done in different setting. I think this organization can help the poor people of Ethiopia by putting some money together. I know i can say so much, but you summed it all up for me on your first comment.

  25. 25 EthioGirl Jul 15th, 2008 at 4:15 am

    i agree with “angry father”. They should make the entrance free. Because they are going to get Lotta money from Al Amoudi anyways. Its rediculous, paying $20 for each person. woooow

  26. 26 Begudu Jul 16th, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Afe’ Kurite Yebele, Katelo

  27. 27 Ethio1 Jul 17th, 2008 at 12:12 pm
  28. 28 abakiya Sep 30th, 2008 at 9:40 am

    My video comment on ESFANA is coming I will post the link here stay tuned.

  29. 29 Jeramie May 22nd, 2009 at 5:04 am

    Hello, I found your mag in a new directory of blogs…looks good. Have a nice day.

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