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  • Ethiopian Getenet Tuji received full scholarship to play soccer for USA based Northwestern University

    St. Paul Central's Getenet Tuji is going to Northwestern on a scholarship, but the senior forward from Ethiopia needed help from a friend's mother to get it.

    An inquisitive mother helped secure a brighter future for someone she had never met.

    St. Paul Central senior Getenet Tuji will sign a national letter of intent to play soccer at Northwestern University on Wednesday afternoon and he credits Catherine Day for making it possible.

    "She made everything really easy," Tuji said. "A lot of people helped me, but mostly it's really her."

    Known as "Ms. Forde" to Tuji, Day made an extra effort to become a part of the soccer player's life after learning of him through her daughter's story. In the fall of 2011, Kara Forde explained how her friend, Tuji, had received a handwritten letter from the Northwestern soccer coach. The details didn't go much further. Tuji moved to the United States from Ethiopia when he was in fourth grade. It took him two years to learn English and his parents still struggle to communicate. The language barrier, a heavy work load, and unfamiliarity with the recruiting process left Tuji's parents confused.

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    "They don't know a lot about the stuff going on in college," Tuji said. "It's a completely different environment here."

    Day's background in higher education and college success kept Tuji's abilities on the soccer field and in the classroom from being overlooked. With the help of her daughter, Day approached Tuji's family about their son's gifts. Soon afterward, the family drove Tuji to Northwestern.

    It was during this unofficial visit last spring that Northwestern offered him close to a full scholarship. The 4.2 grade-point-average student, enrolled in International Baccalaureate curriculum at St. Paul Central, also considered Stanford and Wake Forest before settling on Northwestern in June.

    Tuji skipped his senior soccer season at St. Paul Central to play for the Minnesota Thunder Academy. Advisor Rob Zahl said Tuji is one of the academy's most well-rounded individuals.

    "A lot of times these guys slip through the cracks," Zahl said about players and families from foreign countries. "He's on the radar, but could have not followed through [to seek help in the recruiting process]. They don't know any better. Parents like [Day] don't need to do it, but go and help."

    Tuji said he's a little scared to attend the academically prestigious university, but hopes "to take these opportunities and really help my family in the future."

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  • Ethiopian players in talk with agents

    By Michael Samson 

    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Five Ethiopian players, including the hero Adane Girma who scored the only goal for Ethiopia, are said to be in the recruitment list of football agents currently camped in South Africa watching the ongoing 29th African Cup of Nations.
    Although some websites mentioned that local agents from South African leagues were busy trying to recruit the Egypt-based Ethiopian player Salahdin Said, he is to move to Europe, notably to a Belgian first division side, even though the striker is still under contract to Wadi-Degli. The unpredictable striker, earning USD 10,000 a month, is going to become the first Ethiopian player to join a first class European club.
    The latest player in the transfer market is Adane Girma who scored the first Ethiopian Africa Nations Cup final goal after 37 years. Though he limped off the field in the first fifteen minutes of the match against Burkina Faso, Adane proved that he is the current best player Ethiopia has produced. Adane covered the whole field and inspired his ten men squad to a much appreciated draw with Zambia.

    The other player under the agents’ radar is Waliya’s most gifted midfield player Shimeles Bekele. The playmaker’s performance has earned him much appreciation among football fans. His precise pass to Salahdin that earned Ethiopia a penalty and his curling effort that came back off the right post was among the midfielder’s high points that caught some agents’ attention.
    Saint George and Waliya left full back Abebaw Butako and Dedebit’s attacking midfielder Menyahel Teshome are said to get contracts from South African agents. It is not surprising that much attention was paid to these players considering the numerous comments showered on them by world soccer renowned personalities such as former Nigerian international player Sunday Oliseh.

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  • Ethiopian Saladin Said among Top 5 Africa’s rising stars
    By Euroscout
    Euroscout takes a look at some of the stand-out young players based outside Europe who have impressed at the African Cup of Nations.
    We have not referred to anyone plying their trade in Europe or a major global league, meaning Cape Verde and Burkina Faso’s surprise packages and the likes of Ghana’s Christian Atsu and Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa are not listed.
    We have also operated a strict U25 cut-off point, which excludes African-based revelations such as Mpeko Issama (DR Congo, 26) and Walid Hichri (Tunisia, 26).
    So here are out top five African-based youngsters from this tournament, with Nigeria’s Godfrey Oboabona a clear candidate for a move to Europe.
    Godfrey Oboabona (22, Nigeria, Sunshine Stars, centre-back)
    Nigerian players are usually scouted young, so the big defender’s inclusion in the squad was unexpected given the Super Eagles’ strength in central defence. He has fared well though, certainly better than Joseph Yobo, who looked more like the rookie in the draw with Burkina Faso. Will surely move this summer if not tonight.

    Djene Dakonam (21, Togo, FC Coton Sport, full-back)
    The athletic defender has been a genuine revelation at these finals, having only made his debut this winter. Quick, agile and as comfortable getting forward as in defence, he has all the hallmarks of a top full-back, but will probably need to leave Cameroon – where he is based – to get there. Like Oboabona, would be available for a small fee.

    Youssef Msakni (22, Tunisia, Lekhwiya, attacking midfielder)
    The goal-scoring winger sealed a big-money January move to Qatar last summer, which may have been premature as he has shone as a creative force for Tunisia in these finals. His screamer gave them victory over Algeria, and he played well in the 1-1 draw with Togo. His Lekhwiya deal will include a buyout clause, which would not be cheap.

    Stoppila Sunzu (23, Zambia, TO Mazembe, centre-back)
    The lanky stopper has been one of Zambia’s better players. Good in the air and decent positionally, it’s easy to see why he has been linked with Reading among others. Congolese side TP Mazembe are claiming he has three years left on his contract, so any move depends on whether FIFA side with the player or club. Either available on a free, or for a couple of million.

    Saladin Said (24, Ethiopia, Wadi Degla, forward)
    Ethiopia’s only major professional player is an energetic and tricky forward. Unfortunate to miss a penalty against Zambia, but a constant threat and caused the defending champions all kinds of problems with his pace and flair. Also impressed in the unlucky defeat to Nigeria, a real livewire with the ball. Expected to move to Belgium with Lierse, who are owned by the same Egyptian that owns his current club. Someone should gazump them.

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  • Goodbye to the vibrant Ethiopian fans – and their beautiful women

    By Lolade Adewuyi, In Rustenburg []

    The supporters of the Walyas Antelopes have been the most colourful addition to the Afcon in 31 years. Losing them in the first round takes away some shine from the tournament

    They came to South Africa in thousands and bestowed their unmistakable dynamism and energy on the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. It can be construed that the fans of Ethiopia’s Walyas Antelopes came to the tournament in droves because it was the first time that their country was playing in the continent’s biggest football showpiece in 31 years.

    So they arrived – young and old, well, mostly young – men and women, wearing their bright green, orange and red national colours. Some had faces painted, others had fancy hairstyles while some remained plain.

    Of their women, former footballer turned pastor and analyst Idah Peterside blurted on television: “The Ethiopian women are beautiful, they’re like magnets.”

    They sang songs in Amharic and chanted for their team. They were rambunctious, they challenged referees’ calls, they invaded the pitch, twice, yet they remained loyal till the end even as their side was eliminated in the group stage by Nigeria.

    A group of Ethiopian fans also used the opportunity offered by the tournament to protest the incarceration of their leaders by the Ethiopian government. Mainly Muslims, they wore white jalabiyas and massed together separate from the larger group.

    One thing I noticed about the Ethiopians, unlike many other journalists who complained every time their teams exposed some weakness, the east African journalists were calm and watchful in the media tribune. They did not come to this tournament expecting so much, only to enjoy the spectacle.

    And what a spectacle the fans created for everyone who saw them.

    They possessed a great deal of heart and were not afraid to show it. After the ugly incident against Zambia that forced Caf to fine their federation $10,000 for a pitch invasion and throwing of missiles, they held out a large banner on the stands that read: “We apologise for our behaviour but we love the game.” True spirit!

    Losing the Ethiopians in this tournament is ending one big chapter for them. Coach Sewnet Bishaw told journalists that the team is in a new phase of life.

    “We have opened a new chapter for this generation after 31 years. We scored our first goal at the Afcon in 37 years.  We are trying to make our people happy,” he said.

    Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi also hailed their style of play which involved passing around the ball very well, a style perfected on the training ground.

    “If they keep the team together for the next five years, they will be a force to reckon with on the continent,” Keshi said.

    Ethiopia will go back home looking ahead to the next Afcon and the 2014 World Cup qualifiers. A consistent football policy will keep them on the radar for a long time to come.

    We need Ethiopia to play more often on the big stage, football cannot afford to miss their fans nor their beautiful women for another three decades.

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  • Ethiopian football fan commits suicide in Addis Ababa after Ethiopia's defeat by Burkina Faso

    [DeBirhan] An Ethiopian fan who lived in Shola Gebya, Addis Abeba has reportedly committed a suicide after Ethiopia was beaten 4 - 0 by Burkina Faso yesterday (25 January 2013) during the 2013 African Cup of Nations match at Mbombela Stadium, in South Africa, the Addis Abeba based Tadias Addis Program in Sheger 102.1FM Radio reported tonight. 

    The Radio hosts avoided naming the victim and his details for the sake of the deceased's family but confirmed the incident. The case is under police investigation. 

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  • Nigerian fans declared two days of fasting, prayers for Ethiopia game
    Nigerian fans of the nation senior national team, Super Eagles have gone spiritual as the team prepares to face the Ethiopia senior national team today for the last group C game of the ongoing African cup of nations in South Africa.

    A cross section of the fans who spoke with Pilot Sports on Monday ahead of the encounter today said, they have come to realise that if they wait for the legs of Stephen Keshi tutored lads, Nigerians would be left disappointed, therefore, they have decided to fast and pray for the team so that God will have mercy on them and give them victory on the match.

    Nsiebiet Mary in a telephone conversation said, concern Super Eagles fans in Akwa Ibom state declared yesterday a day for fasting and prayers to back up the team in their last group C game against Ethiopia.

    Ordinarily she said, Walya Antelopes of Ethiopia shouldn’t be a team Nigeria loses sleep to, but with what is going on in South Africa its only prayers that can save Nigeria.

    “My brother, if we sit down here and wait for Keshi and his boys tomorrow (today’s) match might be the last game for us, because I suppose their legs can carried them beyond were they can stretch it. That is why we concern Super Eagles fans in Akwa Ibom declared Monday a day to fast and pray for the team success.”

    In the same vein, Obalende-Lagos and Jabi-Abuja fans also fasted on Monday and will continue today till 12noon for the success of the Eagles against the Walya Antelopes.

    Benedict Kekong in a telephone chat from Lagos told Pilot Sports that the essence of their fasting and prayers is not only for the players’ legs, but to neutralize the referees gang up against Nigeria having witnessed the two matches played so far.

    It could be recalled that Nigeria have played two matches at the ongoing Afcon in South Africa, and draw both. They are currently having two points and two goals for and against.

    Pilot Sports report that if they win the match today, they are definitely going to progress to the quarter-finals stage.N Read more »
  • Ethiopia likely to miss top players in key match

    By TALES AZZONI, AP Sports Writer

    RUSTENBURG, South Africa (AP) — Ethiopia's chances at the African Cup of Nations have taken a hit with the team's two top players expected to miss the decisive Group C match against Nigeria on Tuesday.

    Ethiopia coach Sewnet Bishaw said Monday that midfielders Asrat Megersa and Adane Girma may not recover from the injuries they sustained in the first half of the team's match against Burkina Faso.

    Ethiopia is last in the group but will still have a chance of advancing if it beats Nigeria in Rustenburg.

    In its first tournament appearance in more than 30 years, Ethiopia earned a surprising 1-1 draw with defending champion Zambia in the opener, then fell 4-0 to Burkina Faso after Asrat's and Adane's injuries.

    "Two very important players were out and I'm afraid that they are not coming back," Bishaw said. "Adane and Asrat are not in a good position right now. It will be up to the doctor's decision before the match."

    Adane, who scored against Zambia for the team's first African Cup goal in 37 years, left Friday's match against Burkina Faso with a muscle injury in his right leg. Asrat had to leave the match just before halftime because of a right knee injury.

    Neither player has been able to practice since the match at Mbombela Stadium and they are both undergoing intensive treatment. Bishaw said Asrat's injury appears the more serious one and that he may have to be sidelined for up to 20 days.

    Bishaw said losing the players early against Burkina Faso played a big part in the team's 4-0 loss.

    "We were dominating in the beginning and missed several opportunities and then our most important players get injured and go out. Our game was totally destroyed," Bishaw said.

    Ethiopia won the Cup of Nations in 1962 but last qualified for the final tournament in 1982. Players were promised more than $100,000 each if they win the competition in 2013.

    The team arrived with few expectations, just hoping to gain experience, but the surprising draw against Zambia in the opener raised the team's hopes of advancing to the second round.

    "This is already a new chapter for this generation, playing after 31 years and scoring our first goal in 37 years," Bishaw said. "We will be trying to make it to the quarterfinals, make history and make our people very happy. Our mission is to play football and to show Africa and the rest of the world that Ethiopia can play football."

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  • Ethiopia coach Sewnet Bishaw: We must score lots of goals against Nigeria

    The Walya Antelopes were defeated 4-0 by 10-man Burkina Faso in their second match in Group C.

    Having taken a point in their first game against Zambia, lots was expected from the Ethiopians going into the clash against the west Africans but they fell short, having lost inspirational forward Adane Girma to injury.

    “We didn’t expect this result from the very beginning. We hoped that we would play again like the first game and take a point against Burkina Faso,” said Bishaw.

    The Antelopes still have a mathematical chance of qualifying for the last eight when they play against the Super Eagles and Bishaw is determined for his side not to go out on a whimper.

    He added: “We’re not going to the field to defend, because defending will only give you one point. Now we must try to play against Nigeria to score goals to have three points.

    “If we get three points, in total we'll have four, and may qualify for the next stage.

    “Not only will we just score one or two goals, we need to score lots of goals, otherwise, it is a matter of dignity for our boys."

    Ethiopia will play against Nigeria in Rustenburg on January 29.

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  • Ethiopia coach Sewnet Bishaw to make changes in his squad for Burkina Faso game

    Burkina Faso have called Marseille midfielder Charles Kabore into their starting line-up as they look to build on their draw with Nigeria.
    But striker Alain Traore will again start from the bench despite scoring the goal that earned them their point.
    Ethiopia coach Sewnet Bishaw has promised to make a number of changes but would not reveal names.
    But he will definitely have to replace keeper Jemal Tassew, who is suspended after being sent off against Zambia.
    Burkina Faso coach Paul Put:
    "We have a lot of respect for the Ethiopian team. Any team that can draw with Zambia after playing against them with only 10 men after 30 minutes, that says a lot.
    "They are physically very strong because they are used to playing and training at an altitude of 3,000 feet - it also means they will recuperate faster than us, but we will not make excuses.
    "Tactically, we know their strengths - they like to play combinations of short one-twos. We know what we will face.
    "We must try to read the game at the start and see how we will play. We will not be open in the beginning."
    Ethiopia coach Sewnet Bishaw:
    "The match against Zambia was our first experience after 31 years so, it was fantastic for our football.
    "The players have shown their characters, and they have shown the rest of the world they can play football."

    Read more »