We can take on the world’s best – Ethiopia
The Ethiopians can now play football with the best in the world again, according to their coach Sewnet Bishaw.
Having earned a credible 1-1 draw against African champions, Zambia, at Mbombela Stadium yesterday, the Walya Antelopes have given fans some hope.
They leapt for joy after Ethiopia earned their first Africa Cup of Nations points since last competing in the 1982 tournament.
“Even though we missed a penalty (through Saladhin Said) in the first half, I’m still happy because this is our first Afcon experience in 31 years,” Bishaw said after the match.
“Our players have shown that they have the talent to play against the best teams in the world.
“We will do the same for our next two Group C matches against Burkina Faso and Nigeria.”
Since taking over two years ago, Bishaw has built a dream team around the east African country’s golden period led by the young talents like Said and Adane Girma.
Ethiopia were top of the continent over five decades ago, after winning the 1962 Afcon.
“Everytime we play different teams we get stronger, just as you know, the next game (against the Burkina Faso on Friday) will also be tough,” Bishaw said.
The Ethiopians – who were ranked as no-hopers in their stream – face Burkina Faso’s Stallions on Friday without suspended goalkeeper Jemal Tassew.
Meanwhile, Zambian coach Herve Renard conceded being outfoxed by the wily Black Stars on the night but stressed that their campaign was far from over.
“We deserved what we got in the match. Our goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene kept us in play otherwise it would have been a bad result against us,” Renard said.
“Qualifying for the next stage is not now after Ethiopia, but after three group matches are played.”
- Sisa Majola