Ethiopia dream of re-discovering their scoring touch in AFCON

Ethiopia dream of re-discovering their scoring touch in AFCON

By Mandla and Andile Dladla

The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finally kicked off on the 9th of January in Cameroon after it was postponed last year due to logistical challenges but now the whole world gets to watch and experience the magic of African football.

There has been a lot of drama and several federations faced serious challenges with European clubs unwilling and un-co-operative in terms of releasing their African players to take part in the African showpiece, most citing Covid-19 as their reason for refusing to release their players.

But sanity prevailed as most African players insisted on coming to represent their countries regardless of whatever sanctions Europeans threatened to impose on them and finally the jamboree started in the capital Yaoundé, where the hosts Cameroon came back from a goal down to defeat a plucky Burkina Faso 2-1.

And then in the second of the double-header matches in Group A, Ethiopia who always have some of the most colourful supporters, found themselves a man down and had to battle gamely with 10-men but eventually went down 1-0 to Cape Verde.

However, Ayenew Woldemichael an Ethiopian journalist with Addis TV, Inter sport newspaper and FANA broadcasting corporate (Sport 365 radio talk show) Canel+ believes that it is important to have better discipline within the team in order to keep going.

“We need to keep believing and should try our utmost best and in so doing we need to first respect the AFCON as Africans because currently we are not giving the tournament enough respect but once we do, the rest of the world will follow suit.”

“When DSTV came on board the Ethiopian Football Federation last season to partner with BetKing Ethiopia it suddenly sparked into life the Premier League and football was interesting but unfortunately this season there is a serious lack of goals.”

With Ethiopian Premier League matches broadcast live on SuperSport, the world was exposed to the precocious talent of free-scoring Abubeker Nasir who finished the season with an incredible 29 goals to be crowned top scorer and Footballer of the Year.

“Nasir had a breakout season and although he has not been as prolific as last season, there could be a number of different reasons for his lack of scoring form.

“For a young player it was an incredible achievement and with teams from the North and Southern regions of the continent looking at signing him even after the opening game against Cape Verde, we also heard that there is some interest from Eastern European clubs.”

But, if anything Ethiopians swear by Nasir and believe if the country is to make any meaningful way in the ongoing tournament, the youngster will have to bring his A game to the Cameroon stadiums and rediscover his scoring touch and encourage the rest of the team to push until the final, hopefully.

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