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Ten months in the wilderness, a late appointment of a head coach, a prolonged league season, a late launch of preparation for an international fixture and six first choice players dragging their feet for being engaged in club duty (two of them joined the squad late), the Ethiopian national team appears oblivious to what is at stake that is a qualification match to 2017 African nations Cup final. To add salt to the wound the qualification campaign opens with a match against one of the continent’s mighty football nations, Ghana.
The impact of the Ethiopian Football Federation‘s late appointment of Ashenfi Bekele reflected on the late selection of players and the June kick off of the African nations Cup means there is not much time to prepare. The tournament Organization body should end the season earlier.
Of course Egypt based Shemeles Bekele and Oumed Oukri’s late arrival and the absence of Saint George’s four players: striker Salhadin Said, midfielder Mentesnot Adane, central defender Aschalew Tamene and mid fielder Natnael Zeleke are beyond the federations’ jurisdiction. A three week preparation, followed by a single international friendly against Uganda in Hawassa Town, Waliya-Antelope are to face the four time African champions and a squad full of European based players.
Taking all this into consideration one can conclude that head coach Ashenafi Bekele’s promise of steering The Waliyas not only to a Cup final place in Cameroon but also to reach to a historic last eight is too ambitious. Ghana hosts Ethiopia at the Baba Yara Stadium on Sunday, June 11.