The Walya Antelopes of Ethiopia are back in the Africa Cup of Nations after 31 years absence. The target of the Ethiopians, the Super Eagles Group C opponent, is making it at least beyond the preliminary stage of the continent’s biggest football tourney starting in a week’s time in South Africa.
Speaking with FIFA.com on Friday, Ethiopia’s star striker, Saladin Said, said he believes that they can again tear up the form book and get past the first round even if many give them a slight chance of doing so.
The noble ambition of the former African football power house will sure not be a stroll in the pack having been drawn into a tough group that will see them challenge Burkina Faso; holders Zambia; and two-time African Champions, Nigeria.
However, after spectacularly upsetting Benin and Sudan in qualifying, each time on away goals, the Ethiopians are bullish that their target is indeed achievable.
“Our group is very difficult. Nigeria is a big team, and so is Zambia, who won the Nations Cup the last time,” Said, who plies his trade in Egypt, told FIFA.com.
“However, our team is also strong. We have lost only one game in the last year, so I believe we can have a good tournament, God willing. We will play with the aim of reaching the next round. He stated.
Taking a look at the their first set of hurdle in their Group, Said admits that Nigeria is a tough nut to crack
“Nigeria have many professional players in Europe, and Zambia are a very good team. I don’t know much about Burkina Faso, I haven’t watched them for three or four years. Before we begin the Nations Cup, we will play three friendly games against Niger, Togo and Tunisia. I hope we can get good results that will boost our confidence before we start our campaign,” he said.
Said, a household name in Ethiopian football, joined Egypt’s Wadi Degla on a three-year deal in the summer of 2011, but he had little time to make an impact after the Egyptian Premier League was suspended in the wake of last February’s Port Said disaster.
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