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BBC-Ethiopia inspired by their past

Posted by Ethio Tribune on January 17, 2013

Ethiopia national team

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….click here to read the full story

 

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