Webetu Abate has urged his players to seize the moment and secure their place in next year’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament in Cote D’Ivoire, beginning Friday March 24 when they face Guinea.
The 1962 champions are bidding to reach the finals of the competition consecutively after participating in the 2021 edition last year in Cameroon.
Ahead of their match day three clash against the Silly National of Guinea at the Mohammed V stadium in Casablanca, coach Abate shared his thoughts with the media this Thursday.
According to the experienced trainer, the game is of huge importance to his side and their opponents that’s why he wants his players to be at their best.
“There is no easy game. We know that the Guinean team is good. They have a good collection of footballers. Tomorrow’s game and the next are important for all four Nations,” said Wabate.
Egypt and Malawi who complete the exciting Group D also count three points from their opening two games, but Ethiopia lead the group courtesy of a better goal difference after their 2-0 win against the Pharoahs in match day two.
Abate refuses to be carried away, and says the competition is still open for all teams in the group.
“Although we are at the top of the group, all teams have equal points. Tomorrow’s game is crucial for us. We respect our opponent and we will run games like a fight till the end.”
Ethiopia suffered 1-2 defeat to Malawi in match day one, but know a win against Guinea will put them in a comfortable situation, given either the Pharoahs or the Flames will drop points in the other group fixture on Friday Blantyre.
The Ethiopia boss told his players via the presser: “If you are thinking of being at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, your desire is to have maximum points to achieve it. If that is not possible, there are things that you can put in order. If we can get six points from these two games, as every team wants then great. If this is not the case, it is expected of a coach or a team to set other options. When we came here, we realized that we have a team that can play well and get points. We have three points from two games. As you know, we all have three points. In order to stay in there with the big teams, we have to achieve what we set out to do.”
The coach also highlighted all is going well with their preparations in Morocco.
“We are preparing well, despite the hurdles and difficulties. When I say this, I mean we are facing a very difficult team. They may cause difficulties. But that is our desire; our first desire is to be at the AFCON. And for that we must get points to ensure qualification. These two games are important for all four of us. All the coaches will tell you that they want to get six points.
The former international who was his country’s lead trainer during the 2021 tournament added that they are more concerned about themselves, but keep an eye on Guinea.
“We tried to look at the opponent as any team would do. But we also couldn’t find their recent games. We tried to watch their previous games. We noticed that they have changed some players from their squad at the AFCON. In the end, knowing them is beneficial. But it’s our preparation for the game and what we bring on match day that will determine the outcome. I think we’re in good spirits and shape.”
Ethiopia and Guinea will stay on Moroccan soil after Friday’s game since both nations clash again on Monday in match day four of the qualifiers.
A bunch of the AFCON 2023 qualifiers will be played in Morocco within the next ten days.
The 2023 AFCON tournament is scheduled for January -February 2024 in Cote D’Ivoire.
The host and 23 nations that will make it from the qualifiers will battle to win the crown currently in the keeping of the Teranga Lions of Senegal.
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