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

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs