Ethiopia bows out from 2014 African Nations Championship after suffering a 1-0 loss to Congo
Ethiopia were eliminated from the 2014 African Nations Championship after suffering a 1-0 loss to Congo at the Free State Stadium on Friday night. The Group C clash in Bloemfontein was settled by a late goal from the Red Devils’ Rudy Ndey.
The Walia Antelopes were expected to be one of the stronger teams in this tournament, but a second successive defeat (they were beaten 2-0 by Libya in their opener earlier this week) means they have no chance of getting out of the group.
Congo, on the other hand, have revived their hopes and now trail the group leaders Libya and Ghana by just a point.
Ethiopia should have opened the scoring as early as the sixth minute, as a free kick found Fasika Asfaw unmarked in the penalty area, but he failed to get over his header and the ball travelled over the crossbar for a goal kick.
Football: Ethiopia bow out of CECAFA Cup
Ethiopia bowed out of the CECACA Senior Challenge Cup when they lost 2-0 to Sudan in the quarter-finals at the Mombasa County stadium on Sunday.
Ethiopia were favourites to go all the way to the final having reached the play-off stage in the 2014 World Cup qualifying competition.
But the Walya Antelopes, who had more ball possession in the first half were not able to create scoring chances.
Instead it was Sudanese, who played a more cautious game and were gifted a 23rd minute lead with an own goal by Salahadin Bargecho who turned the ball into his own net.
Sudan stretched their lead in the 69th minute when their talisman Salah Ibrahim scored from close range to take his goal tally to four in the tournament.
Sudan will play Zambia in the last four, after the former African champions overcame Burundi 4-3 in penalties, in a dull game that ended 0-0 after 90 minutes.
It is first time for Zambia, the reigning COSAFA holders, who are competing as guests, and without two key players, including skipper Bronson Chama for the game, to reach the CECAFA cup semi-finals after three attempts.
The last time they reached the semis was in 2006.
Ethiopia beat Zanzibar 3-1 in Cecafa Challenge Cup
Favourites Ethiopia and Kenya register identical 3-1 wins over Zanzibar and South Sudan receptively on Saturday 30 November to move level on points in Group A of the Cecafa Challenge Cup Championship. Ethiopia dominated the first half with their attacking football as their strikers caused havoc with their pace. According to a report from AFP, Ethiopia's Yassin Salah went close to giving them the lead after only two minutes but he shot agonisingly over the bar.
Three minutes later skipper Fasika Asfaw made no mistake when he tapped in the ball from close range. The Ethiopians increased their lead in the 37th minute when Salahadin Bargicho, who proved a thorn in Zanzibar's side, slotted home from the penalty spot after Manaye Fantu was fouled. Bargicho, however, received a second booking and will miss Ethiopia's next game against South Sudan in Machakos on Tuesday.
Zanzibar pulled one back through captain Awadh Juma in the 68th minute but subtitute Rashid Kebede's 86th minute strike put the result beyond doubt for the three-time champions, who are tied on four points with Kenya in Group A. Kenya squandered numerous scoring chances against minnows South Sudan, who are virtually out of the tournament having lost their first two matches.
A Jockins Atudo penalty in the 16th minute brought relief to the anxious home crowd, who could only watch with agony three minutes later when the Sudanese drew level from skipper Justin Lado's free-kick. Kenya's footballer of the year Jacob Keli restored their lead in 29th minute with a header. Keli, who had an outstanding game, also missed a penalty after he had been fouled by Sudan goalkeeper Derete Alemu, who narrowly escaped being shown a red card for the harsh challenge. Substitute David Owino scored from a solo move in the 77th minute to seal Kenya's victory.
Nigeria qualify for fifth World Cup finals
By Samm Audu (AFP)
Calabar — Nigeria on Saturday qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil after beating Ethiopia 2-0 at home in Calabar to go through 4-1 on aggregate.
Victor Moses gave Nigeria the lead after 20 minutes when he tucked away a penalty after Anyalem Hailu handled the ball inside his box.
Substitute Victor Obinna doubled Nigeria's lead on 82 minutes when he fired home a free-kick to kill off the game and the tie.
The reigning African champions thus march on to their fifth World Cup finals having also featured at the 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2010 tournaments.
But the Super Eagles' display on Saturday inside the packed 15,000-capacity UJ Esuene Stadium in Calabar was laboured and, until Obinna's late goal, Ethiopia were still in with a chance.
Celtic defender Efe Ambrose came close for Nigeria right at the start of the game and goalkeeper Sisay Bancha then made a one-handed save from Emmanuel Emenike from 10 yards out as the home team pressed for an early opening goal.
Ethiopia's Saladin Said then saw a shot from a tight angle flash across the face of the goal before Moses calmly dispatched his penalty to put Nigeria ahead after
Hailu was penalised.
Only a good Bancha save prevented Moses from scoring another goal half an hour in, and then Brown Ideye came close to doubling Nigeria's lead when his header off a cutback from the right by Ogenyi Onazi narrowly missed the target.
Bancha again denied Nigeria when Onazi's left-footed shot in the 43rd minute was kept out by the outstanding Ethiopia goalkeeper and Ideye could not put away the rebound.
Ethiopia had set their stall out to defend in the first half, but they came out of their shell after the interval and had a penalty appeal turned down in the 51st minute before Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama made a brave save at the feet of Shemeles Bekele as they continued to fight for the equaliser.
On the hour, Bancha blocked an effort from Emenike inside the area after the Fenerbahce striker broke free of his marker.
Ethiopia attacked and played with a lot more urgency in the closing minutes of the encounter, but they lacked the bite to really trouble the home defence, and their hopes were ended when the power on Obinna's late free-kick proved too much for Bancha.
Ethiopia's teacher confident of success
One of the great stories of the last few years in African football has been the growth of Ethiopia's national team. Earlier this year, they qualified for the CAF Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in over three decades and they are one result from potentially qualifying for their first-ever FIFA World Cup™. The man who has overseen this change and will lead the Walya Antelopes in Nigeria looking to overturn a 2-1 first leg deficit, is former biology teacher and student of football, Sewnet Bishaw.
Despite the home defeat a month ago to the Super Eagles, the coach is confident that the east Africans can turn things around in Nigeria and reach Brazil 2014. "Definitely, yes. The principle of the game is to win. We have seen the Nigerians, and the goals we gave away came from our own mistakes. We will try to correct those and face them in their country, and we hope to qualify there."
The Ethiopian secret
While they are undoubtedly underdogs against the five-time World Cup finalists, Ethiopia have overcome doubters every step of the way in qualifying. They were drawn into a tough group with South Africa, and after beating Bafana Bafana in their penultimate game and thinking they had advanced to the final preliminary round, they were docked three points from their victory against Botswana and had to do it all over again. Bishaw though says that they always believed in themselves. "In the very beginning we set ourselves a goal, which was to qualify for the African Cup of Nations and the World Cup. To achieve that goal we have had to work very hard and that was our plan. We are training every day and night to achieve our goal. We have 90 minutes more, and we will fight to the maximum. And I am confident we will qualify."
Bishaw was in charge of the team at the AFCON finals in South Africa earlier in the year, where the team achieved a credible draw against the defending champions Zambia but exited at the first hurdle. He says the reasons for Ethiopia's growth are not hard to find. "The only secret is to work hard and to make all the players think the same, for the good and strength of the team and for the team's unity. That is the only secret that we have here in Ethiopia."
To ensure that the future of football in the country remains bright, Bishaw says that work needs to be done with young players. "We need to work at the youth level and develop the most talented players. At the moment we are working hard with the current players and then in two or three years we should have many, many young talented players. If we then work with them, I am sure the strength of the national team will continue."
A teacher at heart
Passing on knowledge and wisdom has long been Bishaw's passion, and after graduating from university he became a biology teacher. The skills he acquired at that time still come in handy. "Being a teacher and a coach are one and the same, and that has helped me a lot. When I stopped teaching, I took many courses - at a local level, at CAF level and at FIFA level. I have been abroad for courses. So now my profession is no longer teaching in a school, but my life is teaching football."
Bishaw's interest in developing young footballers has seen him take charge of the national under-17 and under-19 teams, before taking over the senior team, with whom he won the regional CECAFA Cup in 2005. He then returned to club coaching before being called in to the national team again last year. Unlike many coaches, the 69-year-old does not lament the fact that all but two of his charges earn their living playing in Ethiopia. Far from it. "That is a huge advantage for us as it really helps team organisation. Whenever you want to work with the national team, you get them and you work with them. To combine them and to make them strong, that is the most important thing and it helps to have them all together here.
"To have half of them playing abroad makes it more difficult as they have their own style of play, and those who are playing inside the country have theirs, and to make those two teams into one team needs time. Our advantage is that all of them are playing in Addis and there is no problem to have them together for every training session. They know each other, they think as a unit, so this has been great support for the strength of our team."