Ethiopia aim to defy the odds

The Walya Antelopes are returning to the Africa Cup of Nations after a thirty-one year absence.

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    Ethiopia aim to defy the odds
    Ethiopia were last crowned Africa Cup of Nations champions in 1962 [GALLO/GETTY]

    It took Ethiopia 31 years to stage a comeback to the most prestigious football tournament that has ever graced Africa.

    But the team knows too well that for them to stamp their authority at the Africa Cup of Nations, it will not be a walk in the park.

    Coach Sewnet Bishaw believes the team will not be pushovers and any opposition, regardless of their status, that wants to pip them will have to go the extra mile to do it.

    "We beat our rivals Sudan to book the ticket and this was by no means a fluke," he said.

    "We really worked hard for it and people should know that. We wanted to qualify for AFCON and knew what was at stake, we went past all those hurdles and we won’t make it easy for our opposition."

    Bishaw, who steered the side to a back-to-back victory at the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECEFA) competition years ago, also revealed that despite being grouped alongside defending champions Zambia, heavyweights Nigeria and plucky side Burkina Faso, their eye was on the title.

    "We won’t go to South Africa to be defeated.

    "Our aim has always been to bask in glory and we will go to the tourney to do nothing but win the title. We have given the youth a chance to prove themselves in this regional outing Cecafa and whoever impresses me in the process will make the team."

    Ethiopia, famously known as Walya Antelopes, have been on the global map for their achievement in athletics but by being the only representatives from East Africa, they have their weight of expectations shaped up as they seek to claim their first silverware on the continental stage since 1962.

    Claudia Ekai is a football writer and sports producer. She has covered major African football events, regularly writes for supersport.com and has previously had work published on Goal.com, Setanta and various agencies. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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