New dawn for Ethiopia after Nations Cup qualification


To aim high sometimes pays dividends. Ethiopia was busy planning on how to qualify for their first ever World Cup in 2014: Now they are celebrating a return to the Africa Cup of Nations after a wait of three decades.
The Waliya Antelopes are top of Group A in the African zone of World Cup qualifiers, but reaching the 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa marks a new dawn for the country.
The Ethiopians beat Sudan 2-0 in Addis Ababa last Sunday to qualify for their first continental finals since 1982 on the away-goal rule, after the tie had ended 5-5 on aggregate.
Ethiopia’s Nations Cup history
Hosts: 1962, 1968, 1976
Champions: 1962
Runners-up: 1957
Participated: 1957, 1959, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1968, 1970, 1976, and 1982.

If the celebrations in Meskel Square, in the heart of Addis Ababa were anything to go by, then it is clear that 85 million Ethiopians are ready to reclaim their lost heritage as one of the pioneers of the African game when they play in their 10th finals since 1957.
“We’ve made it due to the hard work and unity in the squad,” Coach Sewnet Bishaw told BBC Sport.”We trained hard and the players were highly disciplined. This has helped us to be successful.
“I was always confident. We made silly mistakes in Sudan and also, due to some refereeing errors, gifted them with two late penalties; but I always knew we could make it.” Amid the celebration, some Ethiopians would be forgiven for not remembering that their national team was former African champions. Alas, more than half of the current population was not yet born when the Antelopes won the Nations Cup in 1962.