Since 24th of December, the Walia Ibex embarked on preparations ahead of the forthcoming Total Energies African Nations Championship (CHAN) 2022 that takes place in Algeria. The team starts preparations four months after seeing off Rwanda 1-0 on aggregate to qualify for their third edition of the Championship. Ethiopia featured in the previous CHAN tournaments in 2014 and 2016.
The team has had dismal record in all the two previous appearances as Ethiopia has never advanced past the group stage in both editions scoring only one goal and conceding 9, which raises concerns ahead of their third appearance that happened after a-5-year absence. Ethiopia is in group A alongside Algeria, Libya and Mozambique.
For the last edition, Ethiopia exited the previous tournament with just one point after losing to Morocco 3-0 in the final Group B game. In the other two group games, the team drew with Cameroon 0-0 and fell to Angola 2-1.
Details of Ethiopia’s CHAN outing
CHAN 2014/South Africa
Head Coach- Sewnet Bishaw
13 January 2014- Libya 2-0 Ethiopia
17 January 2014- Ethiopia 0-1 Congo Brazzaville
21 January 2014- Ethiopia 0-1 Ghana
Head Coach- Yohannes Sahle
17 January 2016- DR Congo 3-0 Ethiopia
21 January 2016- Cameroon 0-0 Ethiopia
25 January 2016- Ethiopia 1-2 Angola
CHAN 2022/Algeria- Fixtures
Head Coach- Wubetu Abate
14 January 2023- Ethiopia V Mozambique
17 January 2023- Algeria V Ethiopia
21 January 2023- Libya V Ethiopia
This will be Wubetu’s first edition of the CHAN tournament as Ethiopian head Coach having guided the team to the 2021 edition of the AFCON. Therefore, given the unsatisfactory statistics from the last editions of the championship, Coach Wubetu Abate and his players are in duty to assemble a competitive team that can defy the odds to at least reach the knockout stage for the championship. While announcing the final traveling 26-man squad, the head coach gave priority to St. George which contributed 8 players on the squad, but most notably, he left out the three leading Ethiopian scorers of the domestic league, including Getaneh Kebede of Wolkite Kenema, Biniam Getachew of Diredawa Kenema, and Fikadu Alemu of Fasil Kenema.
Coach Wubetu expelled Getaneh Kebede for arriving one day late without informing anyone. Later, Getaneh announced his retirement from international football after 12 years with the national team. He made his debut at 18 and went on to make 65 appearances, scoring 33 goals. The exclusion of Getaneh brings worries about Ethiopia’s preparedness offensively which has long threatened Ethiopia’s progress in international competitions.
Regarding the tournament’s preparation, having a couple of training sessions on home soil, the team departed for Morocco to camp and play a friendly match where they lose a doubleheader to Morocco 1-0 and 2-1 respectively before the final tournament in Algeria.
Wubetu believes the team is working hard to organize themselves as a unit in a presser he gave about his preparation for the CHAN championships, ‘We have the talent to go deep in the tournament. We just need to perform when it comes to the matches. We are going into the tournament ready for it and looking to progress into the quarterfinals. The Ethiopian Premier League is getting competitive and progressive by every season. Our teams are developing good, talented players. The talent here deserves to feature on a tournament like CHAN frequently.”
Players to watch
While most understandably the focus tends to shift on the young myriad attacking weapons, in fact it is Walias defense that will decide just how well Wubetu’s men will fare. And that is why their veteran center-back Aschalew Tamene will be such an important player, with Ethiopia’s two previous CHAN outings having both been characterized by poor defensive displays that ultimately resulted in their premature exit from the competition.
Eyes will be on another verteran playmaker and captain Mesoud Mohammed, who has both an ice-cool temperament and razor-sharp instincts as he will dictate the rhythm and tempo the game along with the experienced Gatouch Panom.
Duresa Shubisa, a young attacking player known for his lighting pace heads into this month’s tournament full of confidence after a hugely impressive campaign with the Ethiopian Premier League side Bahirdar Kenema. His club compatriot Fuad Fereja known for his inch-perfect passing, fierce shooting and dangerous set-piece deliveries will reinforce the Ethiopian attack.
St. George’s attacking duo, Chernet Gugsa & Amanuel Gebremichael, will actually be another key players for their unrivalled pace, trickery and ability to stretch the opposition defense by continuously hugging both flanks and create chances for Walias solo center forward, Yigezu Bogale, the 2021/22 golden boot winner of the Ethiopian Premier league with 16 goals.
The Ethiopian Premier League
The Ethiopian Premier League is the top tier association football league of Ethiopia run by the Ethiopian Premier League Share Company (formerly the Ethiopian Football Federation regulate the league from 1997 to 2020). Established in 1997, it replaced the former first division, the Ethiopian Championship (est. 1944). Contested by sixteen clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the other secondary and tertiary leagues in Ethiopia.
The league has been an annual competition since the 1997–98 season with Saint George S.C. emerging as the country’s leading club in this era with 15 titles (30 first division titles overall since 1944). During the course of a season that runs from September to June.
Each club plays the others in a double round-robin system. The three lowest placed teams are relegated into the Ethiopian Higher League (second tier of Ethiopian football) and the top three teams from the Higher League are promoted in their place.
In October 2020, SuperSport secured exclusive broadcast rights to the Ethiopian Premier League, a deal which is worth more than 22.5 million USD for 5 years.
Team Ethiopia Squad List
Fasil Gebremichael (Bahirdar City), Bahiru Negash (St. George), Bereket Amare (Ethiopia Bunna)
Alembirhan Yigzaw (Fasil Kenema), Birhanu Bekele (Hadiya Hossana), Suleiman Hamid (St. George), Remedan Yesouf (St. George), Gezahegn Desalegn (Ethiopia Bunna), Git Gatkut (Sidama Bunna), Million Solomon (Adama City), Aschalew Tamene (Fasil Kenema), Mignot Debebe ( St.George), Fetudin Jemal (Bahirdar City)
Gatoch Panom (St. George), Yihun Endeshaw (Fasil Kenema), Alelign Azene (Bahirdar City), Kenean Markneh (Mechal), Mesoud Mohammed (Adama City), Taffese Solomon (Fasil Kenema), Wondmagegn Hailu (Hawassa City), Fuad Fereja (Bahirdar City)
Chernet Gugsa (St. George), Amanuel Gebremichael (St. George), Kitika Jima (Ethiopian Insurance), Duressa Shubissa (Bahirdar City), Biniam Belay (St. George), Yigezu Bogale ( Sidama Bunna)
Aschalew Tamene, Gatoch Panom and Biniam Belay will make their second apperance in the tournament following their first ever appearance in 2016.
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