Monday, June 06, 2011

Disappointment and Surprise mark Ethiopia- Nigeria match

Monday, 06 June 2011
Ethiopian football fans have expressed profound disappointment over their national team's two-game winless streak against the Nigerian national team in the group B of the African Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Ethiopia had been expecting Tom Saintfiet, a Belgian coach who was hired two weeks ahead of the crucial return match, to give the Horn of Africa country's team the needed boost to ensure a win.

Former British-born Nigerian coach, Iffy Onuora, had been blamed for Ethiopia's monumental 4-0 defeat in the first leg of their match with Nigeria.

Tens of thousands of supporters were in and around the stadium to show their support for the Ethiopian national team, the Walya Antelopes.

But the final score, after an emotionally charged Group B African cup qualifier, on Sunday at the Addis Ababa stadium, stood at a disappointing 2-2 for both teams. Nigeria who defeated Argentina by 4-1, in a friendly international, were expected to play effortlessly against Ethiopia.

And although many supporters have expressed disappointment over results they believe could affect their chances of qualifying for the African Cup, several football commentators argue that holding an African giant to a draw reveals Ethiopia's growing potential as a serious football nation.

Indeed, the Walya Antelopes dominated much of the game with a 2-1 lead over Nigeria's Super Eagles, and Ethiopia's new coach, Tom Saintfie, says he is very happy with Saladin Seid who produced the two Ethiopian goals.

Nonetheless, Ethiopian football enthusiasts who witnessed as Nigeria's Super Eagles' narrow escape from defeat, after Joseph Yobo equalised four minutes before the end of the game, are not happy.

“It is really a disappointing result. We didn’t expect it. Now, we are about to miss the qualifiers for the CAF,” Behailu Tesema, a Walya Antelope fan, lamented after the match.

Tom Saintfiet had only ten days to get acquainted with his new team, the Walaya Antelopes, after Iffy Onuora's departure as head coach, well before the end of his contract.

After a 4-1 win over Madagascar, who remain at the bottom, Guinea is now on top of Group B with 10 points. Nigeria is in second place with 7 points.
Source:  The Africa Report.

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