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by Administrator / 1,011 ViewsIt took Ethiopia 31 years to stage a comeback to the most prestigious football tournament that has ever graced Africa.
But the team knows too well that for them to stamp their authority at the Africa Cup of Nations, it will not be a walk in the park.
Coach Sewnet Bishaw believes the team will not be pushovers and any opposition, regardless of their status, that wants to pip them will have to go the extra mile to do it.
"We beat our rivals Sudan to book the ticket and this was by no means a fluke," he said.
"We really worked hard for it and people should know that. We wanted to qualify for AFCON and knew what was at stake, we went past all those hurdles and we won’t make it easy for our opposition."
Bishaw, who steered the side to a back-to-back victory at the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECEFA) competition years ago, also revealed that despite being grouped alongside defending champions Zambia, heavyweights Nigeria and plucky side Burkina Faso, their eye was on the title.
"We won’t go to South Africa to be defeated.
"Our aim has always been to bask in glory and we will go to the tourney to do nothing but win the title. We have given the youth a chance to prove themselves in this regional outing Cecafa and whoever impresses me in the process will make the team."
Ethiopia, famously known as Walya Antelopes, have been on the global map for their achievement in athletics but by being the only representatives from East Africa, they have their weight of expectations shaped up as they seek to claim their first silverware on the continental stage since 1962.
Claudia Ekai is a football writer and sports producer. She has covered major African football events, regularly writes for supersport.com and has previously had work published on Goal.com, Setanta and various agencies.
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The Walya Antelopes will be celebrating a return to the biggest continental showpiece after a 31 year absence. Ethiopia, who last qualified for the Nations cup in 1982, has started preparation for the 2013 AFCON to be held from January 19 in South Africa. A total of 31 players are currently in camp at the Addis Intercontinental Hotel.
The football federation has been planning extensive activities to take advantage of the football awakening in the country that came as a baggage of the qualification. The federation has budgeted a whopping 80 million birr ($ 4.44 million) for the campaign. It has recently signed a two-year sponsorship agreement with Bedele Beer, which is one of the two breweries in Ethiopia that are run by Heineken. The deal will see the federation receiving a sum of 24 million birr through the course of the agreement.
The Walya Antelopes are out to improve their disappointing showing when they last took place at the tournament in 1982. At their last appearance in Libya, they finished last from their group with only one point. They lost 3-0. They were then beaten by Zambia 1-0, which was followed by a goalless draw with Algeria.
Ironically, Ethiopia is grouped with its last group opponents Zambia and Nigeria. The group which is completed by Burkina Faso is expected to be an uphill battle for the Ethiopians. Even though many football analyst equate Ethiopia progressing from the group which includes the defending champions Zambia and African football giants Nigeria with mission impossible, Ethiopian coach Sewnet Bishaw dares to believe otherwise. In a recent interview with Aljazeera, he was quoted as saying”We won’t go to South Africa to be defeated.” In this interview, Sewnet was adamant his side are not in the 2013 African Cup of Nations for the first time in 31 years just to make up the numbers.
The coach is relying on the professional experiences of his foreign based players for the upcoming challenges. Most of the players in the Ethiopian squad are home based and playing for the Ethiopian league champions St. George FC and the runners up Dedebit FC. But coach Sewnet is trying to include some foreign based players to his charges. Among them are the five players who have already joined camp.
1. Yusuf Saleh: plays for Syrianska in the Allsvenskan which is the premier football competition of Sweden. He previously won the Allsvenskan with AIK in 2009. He plays as a left winger and was included in the shadow squad that took part in the 2012 CECAFA in Uganda. Having impressed the coach, he was called to join camp and will be hoping to make the final cut.
2. David Beshah: The defensive midfielder plays for TSC Euskirchen in the German lower division and recently joined Sewnet’s name list.
3. Abdusalam Abas "Fuad" Ibrahim: The 21 year old forward has a lot of experience for his age having played for the United States U-17 and U-20 and for FC Dallas and Toronto FC in the MLS. He has scored 12 goals for the USA at the youth level. He currently plays for Minnesota FC in the North American Super League.
4. Abdul Wali Aman: Another Us based player, not much is known about this player except that he is a striker and plays for Washington University in Seattle.
5. Khalid Mesfin-Mulugeta: The 20 year old Left-Back plays for Hannover 96 II and features at number 307 in the list of world’s 2000 best youth players. It is expected that he will face stiff competition from the talented home based players for the position.
Egypt based striker Saladin Said is arguably the country’s best player. He has scored six goals in the last four subsequent matches he played for Ethiopia, a goal scoring prowess that has the likes of Zambia Coach Herve Renard worried. He is currently on tour in Belgium with his club and will join the National team 10 days before the tournament per FIFA guidelines.
There has been some variance about the exclusion of globetrotter Fikru Tefera from the preliminary squad. Having played in Africa, Europe, and Asia, many believe that he would have brought a wide array of experience to the young team. The 26 year old striker reportedly left for South Africa to sign a contract with ABSA premiership side Free State Town after hearing the decision to leave him out of the team.
As preparations intensify and the date of the tournament closes in, one has to wonder if Ethiopia has what it takes to make an impressive showing at AFCON 2013, because some 85 million Ethiopians will be hoping for the same.
by Administrator / 1,260 ViewsUpdate 1: Ethiopian National football team players discuss delay of prize money with the Federation, Deny training strike
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* Matches will be first between foes since 1998-2000 war
Dec 3 (Reuters) - Ethiopia has asked African football's governing body to move its African Nations Championship qualifiers with arch-foe Eritrea to a neutral venue, with the neighbouring countries still embroiled in a bitter border row, its FA said.
The Horn of Africa neighbours are set to lock horns in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, around January 14-16 with the return tie in Addis Ababa set for two weeks later. But Ethiopia said it would not travel to the Red Sea state.
"We want the matches to take place, but we're not willing to travel there and it is obvious their government won't allow their team to visit Addis Ababa," said Melaku Ayele, the Ethiopian Football Federation's spokesman.
"So we've proposed an alternative venue, neighbouring Sudan, for both matches to be held in."
Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a border war between 1998-2000 that killed tens of thousands of troops. A Hague-based independent border commission ruled that the flashpoint town of Badme belonged to Eritrea but the village remains in the hands of Ethiopia and the spat remains unresolved.
Asmara is yet to respond to Ethiopia's request, Melaku said.
The African Nations Championship, played every two years, is the continent's second biggest tournament in which only domestic-based players can take part.
Ethiopia, nicknamed the Walyas, recently sealed a spot at the more glamorous African Nations Cup finals set for January after a three-decade absence.
Ethiopia and Eritrea were last pitched against each other in 1998 in a qualifying round for the 2000 African Nations Cup, just months after fighting broke out along their sun-blasted border.
Ethiopia declined to take part in those matches. (Reporting by Aaron Maasho; Editing by Richard Lough and Justin Palmer)
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by Administrator / 835 ViewsBBC.COMEthiopia have announced a squad which includes more than a dozen uncapped players for this month's Cecafa Challenge Cup in Uganda.The former African champions will be without the majority of the players who helped the team qualify for next year's Nations Cup in South Africa after a 31-year absence.Midfielder Yared Zenabu, of Ethiopian league champions Saint George, is the only player in the squad who contributed actively in the 2013 Nations Cup qualifying campaign.The 14 uncapped players are home-based except for Abraham Kassa who plays in Alabama in the United States.Perhaps, the most experienced player in the 21-man squad is globetrotter Fikru Tefera, who has played in Europe, Africa and Asia. The other foreign-based player is Yusuf Salah, of Swedish club Syrianska.The inclusion of both Salah and Kassa forms part of Ethiopia's drive to search for overseas-based players of Ethiopian origin to strengthen their squad for the Nations Cup.Ethiopia have been drawn in Group A of the Cecafa Challenge Cup, along with hosts Uganda, neighbours Kenya and South Sudan.They will open the competition against South Sudan on 24 November at the Namboole Stadium. The final will be played on 8 December at the same venue.Goalkeepers: Binyam Habtamu (Hawassa City), Samson Asefa (Harar Beer), Deraje Alemu (Sebeta City)Defenders: Moges Tadesse, Robel Girma (Sidama Coffee), Girma Bekele (Hawassa City), Mehari Mena (Commercial Bank Ethiopia)Midfielders: Gatoch Panomo, Masood Mohamed (Ethiopia Coffee), Yared Zenabu, Mesfin Kidane (Saint George), Tilahun Wolde (Defence), Abdul Karim Hassan (Electricity), Elias Mamo (Commercial Bank Ethiopia), Mulualem Mesfin (Arba Minch)Strikers: Dawit Fekadu, (Dedebit), Yonathan Kebede (Electricity), Amele Milkias (Arba Minch), Fikru Tefera (Thanh Hoa, Vietnam), Abraham Kassa (Alabama College, USA), Yusuf Salah (Syrianska, Sweden)
by Administrator / 656 ViewsNigeria recorded a 3-1 scoreline against Venezuela on Wednesday, the same night Zambia defeated South Africa in international friendlies marking the start of preparations for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.Zambia and Nigeria, alongside Burkina Faso and Ethiopia are in Group C of the tournament to be hosted by South Africa.As Zambia and Nigeria collected some vital preparation lessons in their win, Burkina Faso also 1-0 winners over the Democratic Republic of Congo in Morocco. The Nigerians, however, will be happy to have found the net three times more than Zambia and Burkina Faso.http://zambiareports.com
by Administrator / 890 ViewsBy MTNFootball.comEthiopia coach Sewnet Bishaw has declared they are not in Group C to make up the numbers."It’s not by chance that we are at the Africa Cup, it’s by qualification," Bishaw said."We will meet any challenge and our aim is to go as far to the final and win. We will fight."The 1962 champions, who will end a 31-year hiatus from the competition next year, kickoff their Group C campaign against African champions Zambia on January 21 in Nelspruit."We are not at all scared of Zambia because we have seen them play," Bishaw said."Yes they are defending champions and we respect that but we are not scared of them, we will play eleven against eleven."Ethiopia has won just one of their last three meetings against Zambia over the last six years.They beat Zambia 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the 2010Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup in Tanzania on December 7.The defeat came a year after losing 1-0 to Zambia in a Group A game in Nairobi of the same event.Zambia also beat Ethiopia by that same margin in the quarterfinals of the 2006 edition of the same event in Addis Ababa on the formers’ way to victory.