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.
    x
    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

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora