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Sunday, October 14, 2012 was a special day for the  soccer loving masses. It was a sensational day of excitement, inspiration and jubilation. The  simple  explanation is that  the Ethiopian national football team, the Wallias,  booked  a spot in the finals of the 2013 African Nation’s Cup with a crushing 2-0 home win over Sudan on that day at the Addis Ababa stadium.


Goals from Adane Girma at the 63rd minute mark and Saladin Seid on the 66th , ended a 31-year  hiatus for Ethiopia. It was sensational because the 2-0 score line reversed the 5-3 defeat of the national team in the first leg on September 9 at the hands of the Sudanese team. For one too many, reversing that score line looked insurmountable.  With  a 5-5 aggregate result,    the national team got its ticket to South Africa on the away-goal rule.     
The excitement was so intense that it was reported  around 1000 fans  spent  Saturday night  around the stadium to be at the frontline  for tickets in the morning.    Many flocked to the stadium after midnight, starting at 1:00 am Sunday morning:  by 8:00 am the queue had stretched out for miles  in all directions. Indeed, it was a site to behold.
Emotions were high until the match began at 4:00pm. When the two sides remained goalless at half time, many  soccer fans thought that Sudan had a better chance of going through,when  suddenly,  Adane  opened the scoring 18 minutes into the second half after missing some clear-cut opportunities.  The atmosphere changed abruptly,  in favor of the Ethiopian side. Three minutes later the brilliant Saladin Seid secured the winner.  All in all, it was a great display of determination and national spirit.
The huge crowd at the stadium erupted  with joy after the second goal,  knowing that the Ethiopian team would automatically qualify if the game ended with that score line. Thousands of people watching the live transmission on big screens at places like the Meskel square, the centre of Piazza and Megenagna began marching to the stadium singing a victory song. 
The injury, at the 85th minute,  to the Ethiopian goalkeeper, Jemal Tasew, who was taken to the hospital after an accident on the field, was worrisome because the injury was grave. When he first hit the ground after he prevented the Sudanese striker, Mohamed Abdelmonem, from recovering a rather long ball passed to him, many thought it was a deliberate ploy to waste time. Hospital sources later confirmed that he  was recovering well  from a neck injury.
The Senegalese referee, who officiated the game, extended the  injury time to eleven minutes which was practically unheard of.  Just a  fraction of a second after the final whistle, a ball struck  by a Sudanese striker landed in  the net stunning some fans, who initially panicked, fearing that it would count against Ethiopia, but it was not to be so. A ball scored  after the whistle is blown is considered a ‘dead ball’, according to  football regulations, so the victory of Ethiopia was assured with  a young generation  making history.  As the  Captain of the Ethiopian team, Degu Debebe puts it, “ During my lifetime no Ethiopian team has played in the African Nations Cup final. We wanted to be the  generation to accomplish this feat in 31 years  and we fought to turn that dream into reality. Now we have succeeded.”
This was the third time this kind of scenario  has happened. The first was in 1982 when the Ethiopian national team qualified for the 13th  African Nations Cup finals  staged in Libya, after finishing 1-1 with the visiting Guinea team in Addis Ababa.  The first leg, held in Conakry, ended in a 2-2 draw.  With a 3-3 aggregate  result the national team booked its ticket to Libya,  on the away-goal rule. At that  time, the head coach was the late Mengistu Worku. ,
Mengistu has a remarkable history in scoring two decisive goals in overtime, when the Ethiopian national team  won the third African Nations Cup finals which was held in Addis Ababa in 1962, with a 4-2 win over Egypt in the final.  
The second time it occurred was in December 1987 when the Ethiopian national team  won the East and Central African Cup (CECAFA), beating Zimbabwe in a  sensational shootout,   after finishing 1-1 in  the normal period and overtime. What made  that game  so remarkable is that the Ethiopian striker Gebre/Medhin  Haile  buried the equalizer a few seconds before the final whistle. When Gebre found the net many people were leaving the stadium with frustration, because Zimbabwe was leading 1-0 and it looked like their victory was a foregone conclusion. 
At the end of the game, the Ethiopian national team coach, Sewnet Bishaw, said that the first leg defeat had weighed heavily on him, “but as I expected we reversed that result with a  great 2-0 win in front of our fans. My boys created a number of clear scoring opportunities both in the first and second halves. Those attempts bore fruit in the second half. We got what we wanted,” he concluded.
Investors  showered the young players with  monetary prizes who fought for this precious win. Tekele-Berhan Ambaye was the first to do it,  giving 1.5 million birr  at a luncheon on Tuesday, October 16. Sheikh Mohammed Hussien Al Amoudi,  generous as usual, bestowed 5 million birr  on the team.