EFF! Why is the Ethiopian camp so quiet?


Many spectators of Ethiopian football are asking why the National team’s first pick weren’t allowed to take part in the ongoing CECAFA zone championships, which started four days ago and brought together twelve nations including host and defending champion Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Sudan. The underlying message of these fans is that it would have been a good opportunity to build a stronger side tested in a great tournament.
Although the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) had announced that African soccer giants of the likes of Ghana and Ivory Coast had made inquiries in regards to playing international friendly matches against Ethiopia, no one appeared interested in the issue at the time. Surprisingly, all nations participating in the African Nations Cup finals, qualified nations including Ghana and Ivory Coast had had their first friendly matches except Ethiopia and Mali. Taking into consideration that EFF had announced, time and again, international friendly matches and cancellations at the last moment because of circumstances, CECAFA would have been an ideal opportunity for the Walias and National team head coach Sewnet Bishaw to organize a better squad tested under real fire. There is some talk that the head coach is worried about injuries if the team takes part in the CECAFA tournament. If indeed that is the real reason, the questions “What of injuries that might occur in the Ethiopian Premier League fixtures? Are local fixtures free of injury? Does recalling players, in mid season for a one month preparation, logical?” will and did definitely arise. EFF is sure to have sound arguments for why they said no to CECAFA and why, so far, the team hasn’t participated in any international friendly matches.
Now that we have missed participating in the CECAFA games and the aforementioned friendly matches have evaporated into thin air, the Ethiopian National team will have the dubious honour of appearing at the African Cup of Nations in South Africa without any decent preparation whatsoever. The public, which had been euphoric in the return of the team to the African Cup of Nations finals after an absence of a little over three decades, is ready to help and support the team as usual, but unfortunately, no one has come forward with any kind of plan. The Olympics committee’s successful fundraising campaign for the London Olympics would have provided good experience, especially the “Text Messaging” program from which the committee raised more than 14 Million Birr in about four months, might have alleviated the problems of funding for such a preparation if funding is the real reason. Now, we have less than two months remaining before the team travels to South Africa. Some theorize that we missed the CECAFA games because EFF did not want any embarrassing results from the tournament before South Africa. Encountering the likes of South Sudan, Uganda and Kenya could have given the team three to five matches experience and would have been a big bonus for Ethiopia. I hope EFF understands why I am so gravely concerned. It is because I am an Ethiopian first and foremost and football is my thing.