Ethiopia Walia Ibex have a tough date with Mali when the two sides clash on Saturday in the ongoing 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier to be played at the National Stadium in Addis Ababa.
Walia Ibex will be hoping to rekindle their hopes of playing in Morocco after two losses against Africa’s top side Algeria 1-2 at home and a 3-2 loss to Malawi away .It has not been the best start many Ethiopians expected but coach Mariano Barreto who has rung changes to the team is optimistic the tidings may change with a win against Mali whose coach Henry Kasperczak is coming for nothing short of a win.
Kasperczak has a variety of players who will be up in arms against Ethiopia the likes of Wolverhampton winger Bakary Sako and Bordeaux striker Cheick Diabate who on a good day can wreak havoc with veteran AS Roma’s Seydou Keita set to feature.
Ethiopia currently lie bottom of Group B and will be facing a Mali side that lost 1-0 to Group leaders Algeria just days after securing a 2-0 win over Malawi however head to head statistics suggest it will be the first time Ethiopia will be meeting Mali in any competition.
Coach Mariano Barreto has defied all odds bringing in youngsters to the team that he seeks to rebuild the likes of Natnael Zeleke who has earned rave reviews while also calling up the Europe based trio of Yusuf Saleh,Walid Atta and Amin Askar who between them hold years of experience playing top flight football away from Africa.
The absence of inspirational talisman Salhadin Said who was ruled out due to injury offcourse was a big blow but the partnership of Getaneh Kebede and Umed Ukuri can work wonders at any time as they have been in top form for their respective clubs Bidvest Wits and Al Ittihad Alexandria.
Shemeles Bekele will be expected to be the creative cog in which the team will revolve around in midfield with Walid Atta expected to run rings from the wing where his deadly form would be dangerous for Mali as he will be expected to adapt immediately.
The defense is rock solid with Walid Atta expected to take dropped Alula Girma’s but the absence of towering Thok James will be felt as his height has been instrumental however the back left is well marshaled by Abebaw Butako and Salhadin Bargecho playing a crucial role to defend Walia with Jemal Tessaw expected to be between the post.
Referee Med Said Kordi from Tunisia
Probable Line Up Soka25east.com would love to see :System 4-4-2
Defense: David Besha, Salhadin Bargecho,Walid Atta and Abebaw Butako
Midfield: Natnael Zeleke,Asrat Megersa,Amin Askar,Shemeles Bekele
Strikers: Umed Ukuri and Getaheh Kebede
Ethiopia AFCON Record:
Winners – 1962 (hosts)
Runners-up – 1957
Third place – 1959
4th place – 1963, ’68 (hosts)
Group stage: 65, 70, 76 (hosts), 82, 2013
Ethiopia, winners and hosts AFCON 1962:
AFCON 2015 Results & Fixtures:
- 06/09/14: Ethiopia 1-2 Algeria
- 07/09/14: Mali 2-0 Malawi
- 10/09/14: Algeria 1-0 Mali
- 10/09/14: Malawi 3-2 Ethiopia
- 10-11/10/14: Ethiopia v Mali
- 10-11/10/14: Malawi v Algeria
- 15/10/14: Mali v Ethiopia
- 15/10/14: Algeria v Malawi
- 14-15/11/14: Malawi v Mali
- 14-15/11/14: Algeria v Ethiopia
- 19/11/14: Mali v Algeria
- 19/11/14: Ethiopia v Malawi