Italo Vassalo

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Italo Vassalo
Personal information
Date of birth 1940
Place of birth Asmara, Eritrea
Playing position Forward
Youth career
1957–1960 GS Asmara, Hamasien
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1961–1965 Cotton Factory Club
1966–1974 Saint-George SA
National team
1962–1971 Ethiopia 10+ (4+)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Italo Vassalo[1] is a former Eritrean-born, Italian-Eritrean footballer (with Ethiopian citizenship when young).


Italo Vassalo (sometimes spelt "Vassallo") was born in Asmara (capital of Italian Eritrea) in 1940 from an Italian soldier (who gave him his name Italo, that means "with Italian roots") and a local Eritrean girl. As a teenager he started playing football with his older brother Luciano Vassalo in the "GS Asmara" and in the "Hamasien" (precursor of Asmara Birra[2]). He then moved to Ethiopia: officially ceded to Ethiopia from Great Britain by the United Nations Mandate in 1952, and subsequently under the Ethiopian Federation Italo was considered Ethiopian citizen.

So, he played with Ethiopia internationally, sharing in its 1962 African Cup victory over Egypt.[3] He played at FIFA World Cup qualifiers in 1970. His brother Luciano Vassalo was also a footballer (and later team coach) for the Ethopian team.[4]

My brother (Italo) was an very good forward. He was very strong physically and technically. We won the national football team of Egypt (in the 1962 African Cup) during the final match with a 4-2 score, thanks to 2 goals of him in the extra time... Luciano Vassalo [5]

He retired from active tournaments in the 1970s (even for political reasons because he was not fully Ethiopian, but "half" Italian)[citation needed] and went back to Eritrea, where he worked as a local team coach. Now Italo owns a restaurant in Asmara.[citation needed]

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