Dr. Ed Dove
While the main media focus from this match has concentrated on Nigeria, the Super Eagles win and their progression to the Afcon’s knock out stages. I wish to begin by congratulating the Ethiopian team who will soon depart from South Africa at the bottom of Group C.
Despite this, the Black Lions can hold their heads high.Critics were quick to write them off before the tournament. The fallen giants of the African game had been 31 years away from Africa’s centrepiece, and few expected anything from a squad low on cosmopolitan experience, and high on domestic based players—many of whom were localised at two of Ethiopia’s top teams.
A brave draw against holders Zambia, despite being reduced to 10 men, won them many admirers. Even though the optimism of that balmy afternoon was replaced by despair as they were beaten 4-0 by Burkina Faso, few will have read too much into that scoreline.
Playing attacking football and not afraid to be creative in the midfield—Ethiopia have won themselves many plaudits in this tournament, so much so that few batted an eyelid as they held continental giants Nigeria for well over an hour in Rustenburg.
I, for one, hope that 2013 marks a permanent end to the Walias’ exile from international competition, and that this talented, underrated collection of players are soon gracing our screens once more.