The Ethiopian host Seychelles in the last Group J AfCON Qualifier tie later today at the newly built Hawassa International Stadium.
The Walias hold a slim chance of securing a spot at the next year’s Cup of Nations which is due in Gabon as one of the two best runner-ups among the 13 groups. Algeria have already qualified from the group being at the summit after registering 4 wins and one draw.
The Seychellois held Ethiopia to a disappointing one all draw in victoria in the second group game.
The Walias spent the last 1 month in residential camp at Hawassa, south east of the capital Addis Ababa. Coach Gebremedhin Haile summoned a host of players from the domestic league and has also included three players who are piling their trade abroad. One of the notable players making a return to the squad is Kidus Giorgis’s forward Salahdin Said. Sala has been in sabbatical leave from national team duty for a longer period. The striker has joined Giorgis in mid-February in hope of re-launching his career. Sala revealed to Soccer Ethiopia that the team have prepared in the best possible way ahead of the crucial duel. “We have prepared ourselves for the match in the last 1 month period. All the players are fit and healthy,” alludes Salahdin.
Salahdin further noted Haile’s charge will do whatever it takes to secure a spot in the 2017 Total African Nations Cup. “One cannot tell what will happen in football. The game is so unpredictable. We will try to win the match and we will just do that.”
Seychelles coach Ralph Jean Louis on his part told Soccer Ethiopia that the team have only managed to enter residential camp last Sunday. “Our preparations have not been too long. But it has been good since Sunday. Due to the fact that we were in cup competition and we convene the players on Sunday. We have played two test matches on Monday and Tuesday. So hopefully we will give a good performance and a good match,” said Jean Louis.
Seychelles are without the talismanic attacker Karl Hall, who happened to be in England for a try-out. Hall won the 2015 Seychelles Barclays Premier League MVP after his standout season with league champions Saint Michel FC. Jean Louis admitted Hall will be hugely missed, “It is a big miss for the national team.”
The visitors added three new faces to the squad including a Seychellois who piles his trade in Germany. The homers on the other hand will miss the services of goalie Abel Mamo, full back Ahmed Reshid and winger Endale Kebede through injury. Ethiopia’s chance of progressing to AfCON for the first time since 2013 hangs in balance. The Walias need maximum points today and should wait and see how the other group games go.