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The Waliya Antelopes of Ethiopia are in South Africa preparing for their first match that will be held tomorrow January 21 with reigning African Cup of Nations Champions (AFCON) the Chipolopolos of Zambia.
The game to be played in the 40,929 seater Mbombela Stadium, in Nelspruit is already attracting fans from both countries who have a large immigrant community in South Africa.
However it’s not only in fan support that the Ethiopians lead in, with reports indicating that 30,000 tickets have been bought by Ethiopian fans, second only to the ultimate team Zambia, which stands at 50,000 tickets.
Ethiopian fans estimated between 3,000 to 5,000 also applied for a visa at the South African Embassy here in Addis Ababa to attend the tournament including fans from Saint George, Electric, Dedebit and Coffee football clubs.
Ethiopia is slated in Group C, one of the toughest groups yet with its other matches being with West African football power house Nigeria and relative minnows Burkina Faso.
The 29th 2013 AFCON tournament which Ethiopia will take part in after more than three decades’ absence started yesterday January 19th and will end on February10.
The opening and closing games of the continent’s show piece tournament will be held at the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg that hosted the World Cup back in 2012.