Thursday, November 14, 2013

1,000 Ethiopian fans to storm Calabar

Not fewer than 1,000 Ethiopian football fans will cheer their team in Calabar when it takes on Super Eagles in the 2014 FIFA World Cup play-off on Saturday.

This is according to an official of the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) Demichau, while speaking just before the team departed Addis Ababa for Calabar aboard a chartered flight on Thursday.

Demichau claimed that the huge number of fans will troop in from neighouring West African countries such as Cameroun to watch the match in Calabar. The rest of the fans arrived with the team on Thursday afternoon.

But the Nigerian embassy in Ethiopia confirmed that only 90 people were granted visas to enter the country. Of this number, 40 were players, coaching crew, backroom staff of the Walya Ibex and EFF officials, while the remaining 50 were fans.

Meanwhile, chief coach of the Ethiopian team, Sewnet Bishau has expressed confidence that the team would defeat the Super Eagles on Saturday. The football tactician told that it was quite possible for the Eagles to fall in Calabar.

“Definitely, yes. The principle of the game is to win. We have seen the Nigerians, and the goals we gave away came from our own mistakes. We will try to correct those and face them in their country, and we hope to qualify there.

“In the very beginning we set ourselves a goal, which was to qualify for the African Cup of Nations and the World Cup. To achieve that goal we have had to work very hard and that was our plan. We are training every day and night to achieve our goal. We have 90 minutes more, and we will fight to the maximum. And I am confident we will qualify,” he enthused.

Bishau also believes that the fact that majority of the Ethiopian team is locally based would work in its favour to conquer Eagles.

“That is a huge advantage for us as it really helps team organisation. Whenever you want to work with the national team, you get them and you work with them. To combine them and to make them strong, that is the most important thing and it helps to have them all together here.

“To have half of them playing abroad makes it more difficult as they have their own style of play, and those who are playing inside the country have theirs, and to make those two teams into one team needs time. Our advantage is that all of them are playing in Addis and there is no problem to have them together for every training session. They know each other, they think as a unit, so this has been great support for the strength of our team,” he said.