Ethiopia faces Zambia in the group opening match on Monday

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The qualification fiesta for the return to the nations’ cup final after three decades now comes to an end after the Ethiopian national side “Waliya Antelopes” opens the group match tomorrow against defending champions Zambia. The former champion Ethiopia for its tenth cup final appearance is expected to be the tournaments surprise package. Head coach Sewnet Bishaw at the helm, three professional players in the squad including Egypt based Salhadin Said, Ethiopia opens its group match against Zambia given equal chance to come out winners. Though Sewnet opted for his second stringers in the final international friendly 2-1 win over Tanzania and later failed to announce his starting line-up claiming every one of them are equally important, the squad is considered the recent time strongest national contingency ready for a real surprise in the tournament. Ethiopia won two of its three international friendly matches and a moral boosting draw with Tunisia in Qatar while Zambia, with its skipper BBC player of the year Christopher Katongo failed to win any of the three friendly matches and rumored to have dressing room suffocating tension. Sewnet’s likely line up in the opening match is Jemal Tasew between the goal posts, Abebaw, Byadgelgn, Aynalem and Seyoum the back four: Addis, Adane, Yusuf, Minyahel and Shimeles in the midfield and Salhadin Said and Getaneh Kebede his strike force.
The group other match is between hot favorite to top the table two times champion Nigeria versus little known yet all foreign based professional side Burkina Faso. For the first time in recent years head coach Stephen Keshi brings six home based players in the squad leaving out some big names for their current poor performance.