Poulsen optimistic despite loss
Taifa Stars head coach, Kim Poulsen remains positive about his team’s chances of fairing impressively in their next assignments despite going down to Ethiopia on Friday.
Stars returned home yesterday from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where they lost 2-1 to hosts Walya Antelopes in a friendly match on Friday.
“We have noted our mistakes and we hope to make amends ahead of our next assignments,” Poulsen said on arrival.
Friday was a great day for Ethiopia’s striker Fuad Ibrahim as he hit his first international goal for the 2013 Africa Nations Cup finals-bound team in the thrilling encounter at Ethiopia’s National Stadium.
Making only his third appearance for the Walya Antelopes, the striker from United States second-tier club Minnesota Stars struck in the 13th minute to put the hosts on the road to victory.
Taifa Stars’ Shabana Nditi levelled matters in the 51st minute, only for midfielder Shemelese Bekele to score the winner midway through the second half and maintain Antelopes’ unbeaten record in warm-up games.
From then on, the match seemed destined for a draw with both teams pressing upfront in turn in search of the match-winner.
However, Ethiopia made sure of the win nine minutes after the hour mark through Saint George’s promising 22-year-old midfielder Shemelese Bekele.
The Ethiopians thus ended their build-up with a 100 hundred per cent run with two wins and a draw.
They began with a 1-0 win over Niger at the same venue on December 30, last year.
They followed it up with a 1-1 away draw in Doha against Tunisia on Monday.
For Kim Poulsen’s boys, the friendly was part of their preparations ahead of the 2014 World Cup qualifier against Morocco in March.
Friday’s defeat came only days after Stars upset African champions Zambia 1-0 in a high-profile match at the National Stadium.
Ethiopia is the only team from the Cecafa-member nations that has qualified for the Africa Nations Cup finals, which kick off on Saturday in South Africa.
Ethiopia’s Antelopes, who are in Group C together with defending champions Zambia, Nigeria and Burkina Faso, are expected to land in South Africa on Wednesday.
They end their 31-year absence from the tournament on January 21 against Zambia at Mbombela Stadium, South Africa.