Ethiopia seeking to beat history after 31 year AFCON absence
Over the last 31 years, they have been fruitlessly attempting to qualify for the African Cup of Nations. Last time they played in Africa’s biggest soccer extravaganza was in 1982 where they bowed out in the first round.
The Walya Antelopes or better yet known as the Black Lions Qualified for this year’s event after beating Sudan at the tape. Ethiopia lost the first leg match 5-3 in Sudan but they went on to win the second leg in Addis Ababa 2-0, therefore qualifying on the away goal rule.
Speaking to Michezoafrika.com after their exit at the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Uganda, Senior team Assistant Coach Seyum Kebedde says they know only too well they carry the tag of underdogs but they will be in the tournament not to participate but to compete with the top cream of continental football.
“Ethiopian football is slowly getting back to where it was long ago. We are becoming a force to reckon with in the continent and I believe the chance to participate in the African Cup of Nations will hand us an opportune moment to show the rest of the continent and the world the kind of soccer we can offer,” Kebede says.
“We know very well we are in a tough group that has defending Champions Zambia, Nigeria and Burkina Faso. They will all look at us as the underdogs but all we can tell them is to tread very carefully. Our players have that fire to perform burning down within them,” Kebede adds.
Ethiopia took a developmental side to the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup where they lost in the Quarters. Only five players from that team might be part of the AFCON squad.
“The team performed well putting in mind their inexperience and I know this is good for the development of our soccer because these young boys have picked up great experience,” Kebede adds.