The soft spoken coach speaking exclusively to Soka25east.com did not mince his words as he gave his frank opinion on what his thoughts were regarding the game against Malawi and Ethiopia chances in the gruelling matches.
In the same breath Mariano was full of praise for new kid on the block youngster Natnael Zeleke whom he described as a bright prospect while also putting faith in his defensive pair of Salhadin Bargecho and Thok James who have been touted as the new generation of players to lead Ethiopia.
“We need 4 points with a win over Mali and Malawi at home in Ethiopia.I believe that we can make it as long as we remain committed and stand by the team as the qualifers are like a marathon and we have to treat every game seriously”‘
“Both our central defenders Thok James and Salhadin Bargecho have together 39 years between them being 19 and 20 years respectively they need time and i am sure they will become top players especially Bargecho.Natnael Zeleke is also a suprise to many but i saw his talent and had faith in his ability and despite being 19 he has proved so much and curved a niche for himself in the team and i can say he has a great future playing football and he will make it very far”Mariano told soka25east.com
On the possibility of including Europe based players Walid Atta and Amin Askar, Mariano had this to say
“We hope for a quick recovery for Walid Atta his experience in defense will come in handy in the department since he has played in Europe in a very competitive environment however i dont feel i will need Askar as he has already reached 30 years and we have equally good players in the position he plays but we will keep on looking “Barreto added
Ethiopia lost 2-1 to Algeria last Saturday and lost 3-2 to Malawi on Wednesday but Mariano feels the results do not reflect the potential of the team which he took over 4 months ago.