Ethiopia’s only hope in Moscow World Cup final: Baamlak Tesema

Ethiopian Football flag ship at international level Referee Baamlaak Tesema Weyessa returned home from Dakar after a successful match officiating in which home side Senegal defeated South Africa two-nil for World Cup final qualification. The humble yet decisive international referee is expected to become the first ever Ethiopian to officiate World Cup final matches next to formerly an Ethiopian now Eritrean Tesfaye G/Yesus.

Though ill-reputed among Ethiopian Premier League heavy weight sides notably Kidus Giorgis and Ethiopia Bunna, Fifa referee since 2009 Baamlak’s performances at international stages is ever growing currently regarded as one of the six elite Football match referees ready to officiate at Moscow World Cup final.

In 2013 he was the man in the middle when Al Ahly played against Club Bizertin in the first leg of the second round of the CAF Champions League. The game ended in a 0-0 draw and Al Ahly went on to win the competition. Then two matches for Wydad:  the most recent being their 1-0 loss in the first leg of this year’s CAF Champions League quarterfinal matchup against last year’s champions Mamelodi Sundowns and the match Wydad beat ZESCO United 2-0 in last year’s group stage match in Morocco. Baamlak refereed as Egypt beat Tanzania in AFCON 2017 qualification, Botswana in AFCON 2015 qualification, and Guinea in the World Cup 2014 qualifications.

When CAF handed the 37 year-old Mediziner, his biggest ever undertaking officiating the 2017 African Champions League final first leg match featuring the continent’s giant Egypt’s Al-Ahly versus home side Waydad Casablanca in Rabat, many believed it was to test him with fire before the final selection for Moscow comes along. In a two-leg matches it is usually the first leg the fiercest and Baamlak came out clean of that match except the lame complaint from defeated Al_Ahly head coach that complained for being denied an early penalty.

The World Cup qualification match in Dakar on Monday appears just the “Ice on the Cream” for Baamlak’s dream of officiating at Moscow World Cup final. The final list of the six referees from continent Africa is soon to be official and Ethiopian Football Fans waiting cross handed to be represented in The Biggest Sport in the Planet Moscow World Cup final.