The Ethiopian national side overwhelmed the minnows Djibouti with a 5-1 win in the first leg match of Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier on Saturday.
The 2018 CHAN championship which is biennial football tournament organized by the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) is the 5th edition.
It is organized to give an opportunity for home based African players. The African Cup of Nations allows players who take part in European league competition while CHAN doesn’t do so.
DR Congo are the defending champions. First time host country Kenya will get an automatic place in the final.
Djibouti and Ethiopia will play the return leg in the southern Ethiopian city of Hawassa on July 23rd.
It is suggested that the return leg is simply a formality because the outsiders Djibouti are not expected to win with a 4-0 margin in the away leg.
The national team head coach Ashenafi Bekele said that his side will never be complacent by the big win he enjoyed in Djibouti.
“Though we are sure that we will go to the next round we need strong preparation to appear strong in this CHAN Qualifiers. We don’t forget the 5-0 demolition we faced against Ghana in the African Nations Cup qualifiers,” he said.
The Ethiopian Premier League top scorer Getaneh Kebede of Dedebit scored four goals and his team mate Mulualem Mesfin added one for Ethiopia to seal the score at 5-1.
Ethiopia’s record in CHAN is not that impressive. For the first time the national side participated in CHAN was at the third edition held in South Africa.
Sewnet Bishaw guided the side to take part in that tournament for the first time in 2014. But Sewnet’s side finished fourth in their 4-team group after losing all 3 matches, conceding 4 goals and scoring none: Libya 0-2; Congo 0-1 and Ghana 0-1.
In the fourth edition held in Rwanda in 2016 once again, the national side finished bottom with two defeats and one goalless tie against Cameroon.
They lost to the eventual winners DR Congo 3-0 and a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Angola.
Knowing this appalling result head coach Ashenafi selected new and young players to strengthen his side.
Accordingly, the head coach has dropped the national football team first goalie Abel Mama following his sides 5-0 away defeat at the hands of the Ghanaian side in the first leg of the African Nations Cup qualifiers.
The national coach also dropped two other players Shimeles Bekele and Gatoch Panom. Both are reduced because they are not allowed to take part in the CHAN qualifiers.
The coach also added some five players like Saint George players Behailu Assefa and Natnael Zeleke, Samson Assefa of Dire Dawa City and Amsalu Assefa of Fasil City.