News / Africa

Ethiopia Football Team Feels Pressured to Succeed

Nigeria's Ahmed Musa (C)is challenged by Ethiopia's Mengistu Assefa Sendeku during their African Cup of Nations qualifier soccer match in Abuja, Nigeria, March 27, 2011.Nigeria's Ahmed Musa (C)is challenged by Ethiopia's Mengistu Assefa Sendeku during their African Cup of Nations qualifier soccer match in Abuja, Nigeria, March 27, 2011.
Nigeria's Ahmed Musa (C)is challenged by Ethiopia's Mengistu Assefa Sendeku during their African Cup of Nations qualifier soccer match in Abuja, Nigeria, March 27, 2011.
Nigeria's Ahmed Musa (C)is challenged by Ethiopia's Mengistu Assefa Sendeku during their African Cup of Nations qualifier soccer match in Abuja, Nigeria, March 27, 2011.
Ethiopia’s football (soccer) team hopes to excel when it makes its first appearance in 31 years at the Africa Cup of Nations. The young players hope to relive Ethiopia's past glories at the tournament that begins next week in South Africa.  
Ethiopia participated in the very first Africa Cup of Nations, in 1957, and won the trophy in 1962.  

But that was a long time ago, and national team coach Sewnet Bishaw said his young team is under a lot of pressure, as this is a new experience for all the players.

“Most of them were not there when Ethiopia was qualifying for Africa Cup of Nations the last 31 years back. We have psychology class every two days, we teach them. And to erase this pressure we have arranged games to practice,” said Bishaw.
Adane Girma is one of the top players in the Ethiopian football league. He said the psychology classes are very useful.
He said that he thinks the team is feeling less pressured because the psychology and nutrition class is helping them a lot. Adane said they are being taught a lot of things that are helping them concentrate on every game, keep themselves well and have confidence in their abilities.
During team practices in the capital’s stadium, the stands are filled. Football fan Alazar, a young salesman who has high expectations for the national team, said he believes the national team will bring back the trophy as he witnessed good quality football when they were playing friendly matches.
The team, nicknamed the Walya Antelopes, for an antelope found only in Ethiopia, qualified for the African Cup of Nations after beating Sudan, 2-0, in October. The last time Ethiopia participated was in 1982.
The long-awaited appearance of the national team in the tournament comes after many changes within the Ethiopian football league. President of the Ethiopian Football Federation Sahilu Gebremariam said there were many problems to be fixed.
“We used to interfere in all operational matters. Now we have a clear cut role and responsibilities," Gebremariam said. "All the technical matters, we left it to the professionals, we don’t interfere. The last three years we have been doing vigorously and a lot so based on that you can see the cumulative effect now.”

The success of the Walyas has also generated much needed funds. The Ethiopian government granted almost half a million dollars, many local businessmen have donated sizeable amounts and international beer brewer Heineken just signed a $1.3 million contract with the team.
One week before the start of the Africa Cup of Nations, coach Bishaw keeps training light so the players will be in perfect shape for their first match - against defending champion Zambia.

Saladin Said is the only national team player who plays professionally in another country. The Egyptian Premier League forward says he feels the Walyas are ready to compete.

Ethiopia will play their match against Zambia on January 21. They will also face Nigeria and Burkina Faso in the first round.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs