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The half-baked Ethiopian Waliya-Antelopes faces 14 time Cecafa defending champions Uganda in the group stage final match today at Kakamega Stadium. Burundi, which is already in the final, encounters bottom of the group South Sudan.
After a 3-1 group opening match victory over South Sudan, football fans were in high expectation of Ashenafi Bekele’s squad in the big clash on Thursday against Burundi. With two wins, one draw and one loss in their previous four encounters, Ethiopia was the pre match hot favorite to take all three points. But a three goal second half avalanche from well-organized Burundi destroyed the Waliyas 4-1 the first ever Cecafa crushing defeat since the 3-0 loss to Uganda 15 years ago.
Though the national team’s popularity reaches to its worst ever level, nearly half of the players are new faces and the organization for the event so poor; there appears no justification for the humiliating defeat. “We are sorry for the poor result but hope we will learn from the defeat and try to perform better against Uganda,” assistant coach Zerihun Shengeta told reporters.
“It may be very harsh to condemn and make Ashenfi accountable for the free fall. It is the reflection of everything that went wrong in the sport,” one critic suggested. A win is the only option for the Waliyas to get through to the group stage final match today against regional mighty side Uganda, popularly known “The Cranes”. With central defender Theodros Bekele out for injury and custodian Tarik Getenet likely to be stranded on the bench following his blunders on Thursday, Ashenafi might face an uphill to get away with three points yet it is a must win situation for him.