A court has stopped the Botswana government deporting 10 players from Eritrea's national football team who have refused to go home following a World Cup qualifier and are claiming asylum.

A court ruled the players could stay temporarily and will have their case heard in December.

The players refused to return to Eritrea and turned themselves over to authorities on Wednesday, a day after their team lost 3-1 to Botswana to be eliminated from World Cup qualifying.

Lawyers say the players are members of the army at home and could face a court martial and treason charges if sent back. Human rights activists say all Eritreans are forced to join the army at 17, supposedly for two years of national service, but claim many are not allowed to leave.