Passing through a tough first leg home encounter with a 1-0 victory, the Ethiopian National side is now in a better position to book a place in the CHAN Championship third edition Cup final, to be held in South Africa next year.
With five of his first team players, including the only Ethiopian professional Salhadin Said absent, Coach Sewnet Bishaw managed an unconvincing yet an important 1-0 home win. The tall defensive midfielder Asrat Megersa headed in his first ever international goal from an inviting right wing cross from Behailu Assefa 15 minutes into the second half. Even though he was without his regular players, many agreed The Waliyas could have done better, for the visitors Rwanda ranked 130th in the FIFA World Rankings, were never a threat to the home side. Back from a goalless first half, the Rwandese opted to stay in their own half and battled for a draw, but with Tesfaye Alebachew at his best, the Waliyas literally camped in the opposite half although goal chances were quite hard to come by.
Having playmaker Shimeles Bekele in front, paired with Dawit Fekadu, left the Ethiopian side short of a creative midfield player thus the middle looked hardly organized throughout the game.
Critics said Shimeles must have a free role, otherwise it is better to place him on the bench, because his contribution while playing in other positions is minimal. Sewnet’s only substitute was Alula Girma, who played well in the midfield despite being a right fullback. But many suggested he should have used attack-minded fresh legs. “Had he not been, as usual, very afraid and unsure of having the upper hand, he could have brought in attacking players and gone for more goals,” Commented a football fan after the match. “Since it is a new platform for locally based players due attention must been given to the CHAN championship because it would give our players much exposure to international matches. I don’t think the proper attention was given from concerned parties,” an Addis Ababa stadium veteran remarked.
A one goal home win is a tricky one, because Rwanda may go for an all-out attack, backed by home fans. The return leg takes place next Sunday in Kigali.