“The way we tried to manage the game was more than we expected” – Wubetu Abate

The Ethiopian National team played its first football match since the suspension of football games in the country following the Covid-19 pandemic. The Waliyas lost the friendly tie 2-3 to Zambia. Newly appointed coach Webetu Abate talked with the media via Zoom after the match. Here are some of the main points he discussed:

Playing without Fans

Even though other activities are returning to normal there is still sanction with fans attending football matches. When you play at home you need the fans.

We have a psychologist with us. We tried and will do more to get help from him.

In the past years the games were being played at Bahir Dar and Hawassa stadiums. The advantage of having fans was visible.

Home Advantage:

When I was coaching Sebeta we played 17 games away from home because of stadium renewal. I am used to it and that experience will help the national team.

When we consider Zambia’s performance and our lack of training there could’ve been a risk for injury to the players who have been out of action for a long time.

The way we tried to manage the game was more than we expected. I was worried that some of the players might not play the way I want but it was overall a good performance.

For the Sunday game:

The main purpose of the game is to check how fit the players are. In the remaining 18 or so days we will reduce the squad and get ready. The team that will face Niger will be ready and fit.


You have to concentrate from the first whistle to the last. Things can change easily. I don’t think we can say the goals we conceeded were due to lack of concentration. They were scored by individual qualities. It’s too early to judge them on that. I can’t ask something we didn’t get the time to work on. What we are worried about is match fittness. The little things aren’t our concern at the moment.

Specific Problem Areas

I have seen that the we need to work on match fitness. We can’t demand too much from the players because it can cause injury.

We have used 21 players. What we saw is encouraging. But is hard to judge them based on what we saw so far.

The main point or goal of the match is to see where we at. It is not about the result. The things we will learn from the friendlies will make us better as a team.

© Soccer Ethiopia