Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Ethiopia coach Mariano Barreto count benefits of Brazil tour

Ethiopia coach Mariano Barreto is optimistic their three-week training camp in Brazil will reflect in their performance in the Orange Africa Cup of Nations Morocco 2015 qualifiers at the weekend.

The Walya Antelopes were in the land of the 2014 World Cup hosts between 8 August and 26 August 2014, and pitch their strength against some notable clubs to fine-tune for the Group B double-header against Algeria on 6 September 2014 in Addis Ababa before traveling four days later to Blantyre to face Malawi.

At a press conference upon the team’s return to Addis Ababa last week, the Portuguese noted that there was a lot of positives from the tour.

“When we decided to go to Brazil it was not only to prepare for the match against Algeria. We have six matches in the qualifying series. The match against Algeria is just one in the series,” Barreto said.

“The basic reason of the mission was to expose the players to the standard of football in Brazil. I’m sure the players really realized their place in the world of football. The difference between Ethiopia and Brazil is extremely wide but the lessons were extremely useful.

“It was a good preparation. The team that played better and we hope it will aid us to the three points against Algeria. The players are likely to display a better football.”

During their stay in Brazil, the Ethiopians suffered three defeats and managed two draws from five games. The Walyas drew 2-2 with Anapolina and 1-1 with Club Gama. Their losses were against Club do Reamo (1-0), Luziana (1-0) and Brasiliense (2-0).

“Victory in the friendly matches was not our target. The important thing was to test our players. Brazil is a football country where close to 70 to 80 million people are playing football. It is also the topmost exporter of footballers in the world. Three weeks in such a country was very useful for the players and will be useful in the game against Algeria and Malawi.

“It is rare to get this kind of access to a football country like Brazil. Our stay in Brazil was quite interesting. We trained twice daily whilst professional goalkeepers and fitness coaches were involved during the training session,” Barreto said.

Ethiopia qualified for the 2013 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, their first in 31-years. Their best record was being crowned African champions in the 1962 edition on home soil.