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  • Ethiopian players in talk with agents

    By Michael Samson 

    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Five Ethiopian players, including the hero Adane Girma who scored the only goal for Ethiopia, are said to be in the recruitment list of football agents currently camped in South Africa watching the ongoing 29th African Cup of Nations.
    Although some websites mentioned that local agents from South African leagues were busy trying to recruit the Egypt-based Ethiopian player Salahdin Said, he is to move to Europe, notably to a Belgian first division side, even though the striker is still under contract to Wadi-Degli. The unpredictable striker, earning USD 10,000 a month, is going to become the first Ethiopian player to join a first class European club.
    The latest player in the transfer market is Adane Girma who scored the first Ethiopian Africa Nations Cup final goal after 37 years. Though he limped off the field in the first fifteen minutes of the match against Burkina Faso, Adane proved that he is the current best player Ethiopia has produced. Adane covered the whole field and inspired his ten men squad to a much appreciated draw with Zambia.

    The other player under the agents Read more »
  • We Will Eat Nigeria Like Super Fried Chickens, Ivorian Eboue Boasts, War of Words between Nigeria and Cote d'Ivoire

    Nigeria/Cote d'Ivoire: We Will Eat Nigeria Like Super Fried Chickens, Ivorian Eboue Boasts

    Galatasary of Turkey and Elephants of Cote d'Ivoire defender, Emmanuel Eboue, has boasted that his country will eat the Super Eagles of Nigeria like 'super fried chicken' when they meet on Sunday in one of the quarter finals matches in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations holding in South Africa.

    Eboue, who through his twitter handle @TheRealEboue, congratulated Nigeria shortly after the Super Eagles defeated Ethiopia to reach the knock-out stages but was quick to caution Nigeria not to celebrate to much as the Elephants are coming for them.

    The former Arsenal player maintained that Eagles were no match to his side. His first tweet read: "Congrat to Nigeria. Don't celebrate too much cuz we are coming for you. We are going to eat you like fufu".

    Minutes later, the Ivorian defender tweeted again: "Sorry guys, point of correction. We are going to eat Nigeria like #SuperFriedChickens."

    From then on, it has been an unending tweet tirade on not just the Eagles as a team but Nigeria in its entirety, a situation that has seen some twitter users arguing that Eboue was being impersonated.

    Some of the tweets read:

    "@TheRealEboue I see ppl saying I hv pride by saying we wud eat Nigeria like fried chickens, it's not pride guys, it's hardwork & passion 4 my country"

    "@TheRealEboue: In Nigeria team, some of your best strikers like martins, yakubu & odewinge are not in the team. Why? No peace, passion, & humility"

    "@TheRealEboue: Ivory has some of the top players in d world, and when our country calls. We go. We go back home and play. Nobody is a big boy. So shut it"

    "@TheRealEboue: A country where mikel obi is your best player & captain . Out of 150million people. You sure have a problem super chickens"

    "@TheRealEboue: With all due respect 2 mikel, he is a good player but not Okocha, Samson,yekini,Oliseh, adepoju. Your football association is a joke"

    "@TheRealEboue: When keshi was in Togo, he dropped adebayor. He is in Nigeria and drops the best player. He is a manger he should be able to work on their ego"

    Read more »
  • Ethiopian athletes completed a 1-2-3 finish in Dubai Marathon

    By Andy Sambidge

    Ethiopian athletes completed a 1-2-3 finish in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon men's race on Friday, with Lelisa Desisa taking victory.

    Desisa overtook fellow Ethiopian Berhanu Shiferaw in the final kilometre to win the race in two hours, four minutes, 45 seconds.

    The 23-year-old, who was among six runners following Shiferaw for most of the race, finished just 22 seconds off the course record set last year.

    The pack was reduced from 10 to six at the 20 mile mark and Desisa moved past Shifera in the closing stage.

    Tadese Tola, also of Ethiopia, was seven seconds back in third.

    Ethiopia also claimed victory in the women's race as Tsegayae Beyene won in two hours, 23 minutes, 23 seconds to beat Kiros Reda by 16 seconds.

    More than 2,500 runners set off on the marathon, with thousands more taking part in the associated 10km road race and 3km fun run.

    In all, around 20,000 runners were expected at the start line on Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard in the shadow of Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai.

    Read more »
  • Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Ethiopia inspired by their past [BBC]

    Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Ethiopia inspired by their past

    By Giles Goford
    BBC Sport
    Ethiopia hold the dubious record of being runners-up in the Africa Cup of Nations without winning a game or even scoring a goal.
    That came at the inaugural tournament, held in 1957, after the Confederation of African Football was established by the Egyptian, Ethiopian, South African and Sudanese Football Associations.
    Ethiopia received a bye into the final after South Africa were disqualified for refusing to send a multi-racial team, and the Walya Antelopes were then beaten 4-0 by Egypt in Khartoum.
    Now, 31 years after their last appearance in the Finals, one of the founding fathers of the African game are back and aiming to make a big impact in South Africa.
    History repeats itself
    Ethiopia will have a sense of deja vu at the 2013 Cup of Nations, having been grouped with Zambia and Nigeria. In their last appearance in the Finals, in 1982, they also played Zambia (lost 1-0) and Nigeria (lost 3-0) as well as Algeria (drew 0-0)

    "We are the pioneers, but we went backwards," says the president of the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF), Sahilu Gebremariam. "Now the whole nation is inspired again.
    "Football is the most loved sport in Ethiopia. Being good at athletics builds our international image, but wherever you go - in schools, villages, or in the street - football is the most popular sport."
    The inspiration has come from a national side built on hard work and a team ethic. Ethiopia, who won the Cup of Nations in 1962, are ranked 110th in the world and 31st in Africa, and they qualified for South Africa by edging out both Benin and Sudan on away goals in qualification.
    Head coach Sewnet Bishaw has been in charge since November 2011, but former national manager Iffy Onuora, who led the team between July 2010 and April 2011, says the signs of improvement were evident during his reign.
    "I'm proud that I instilled some professionalism during my time there," said the former Huddersfield, Gillingham and Swindon striker.
    "I'm strong on organisation and team dynamics, and talking to the players it was clearly very different from what they were used to.
    "I believe they saw the benefits and enjoyed it. Having seen the players close up, I felt there was raw talent to work with."
    The talent is almost all home based, from the club sides Dedebit, Defence and Saint George. Just one professional plays his club football outside Ethiopia - star striker Saladin Said plays in the Egyptian Premier League.
    Onuora believes Ethiopia's relative anonymity can help them spring a surprise in a group that contains holders Zambia, as well as Nigeria and Burkina Faso.
    "Adane Girma is a brave striker who attacks crosses well, in the manner of a young Alan Shearer," said Onuora. "Alula Girma is a quality full-back who wouldn't look out of place in a Championship side in England and Shimelis Bekele is a little magician on the pitch in the manner of a classic number 10. He can play wide or behind a striker, and can see a pass in the manner that Juan Mata and Santi Cazorla can."
    Ethiopia's world rankings
    Jan 2013: 110 , Jan 2012: 133  ,  Jan 2011: 124 , Jan 2010: 122  , Jan 2009: 102

    The players, having become national heroes through qualifying, do not want their journey to end in the group stage.
    "We know Nigeria and Zambia are strong opponents, but they should not forget we qualified by beating Sudan, who played at the 2012 Cup of Nations," said 27-year-old striker Adane Girma.
    "In the past, we had problems in beating opponents in away matches. Now this is history - psychologically we have shown encouraging improvements, and as a result we also have a chance to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil."
    Ethiopia have never qualified for football's biggest global tournament, but that is now a realistic prospect - just four years after the team were excluded from World Cup qualifying because the national football federation was sanctioned by Fifa for their non-compliance of a roadmap for progress.
    "We now have a more modern way of managing our federation," says EFF president Gebremariam. "All communities have come together. We currently don't have any football idols, but it is the collective team spirit that is important. In the future we will create some stars."
    Onuora, born in Scotland and the scorer of more than 100 goals in English league football, has written a book on his time in charge, and will be keenly following the team's progress in South Africa.
    "Every League Two club in England would comfortably have better facilities than the Ethiopian national team in terms of pitch, ground staff, training facilities and kit," the 45-year-old Onuora added.
    "But I began to love that aspect of it. The ability to build a team out of nothing more than the raw material, the ability of the players, became my driving force.
    "I had in mind the Cup of Nations in 2012, and more realistically 2013, and beyond that the World Cup. I believed we could do it."
    Onuora may have departed, but the Walya Antelopes have done it. The 1962 champions are back on the big stage and ready to draw on the pioneering spirit of their footballing forefathers.

    Read more »
  • Saladin Said believes in Ethiopian dreams, Inteview with FIFA

    Later this month, Ethiopia will return for their first CAF Africa Cup of Nations appearance in 31 years, a victory in itself. However, the Walya Antelopes were drawn into a tough group that will see them face off against Burkina Faso, holders Zambia, two-time African champions Nigeria. And yet, after spectacularly upsetting Benin and Sudan in qualifying - each time on away goals - the Ethiopians believe they can again tear up the form book and get past the first round. That, certainly, is the view of star striker Saladin Said.

    Said, who plays for Egyptian side Wadi Degla, admitted that the east Africans face a daunting test in the 19 January-10 February tournament in South Africa, but he insisted Ethiopia will fight hard to earn a quarter-final berth. Read more »