The East African country will aspire to record their first win over Nigeria in 20 years as well as inch nearer Brazil 2014 if they silence Stephen Keshi’s men in Addis Ababa
How will this much anticipated ‘battle of Addis Ababa’ wrap up? Will it be a stroll in the park for Stephen Keshi’s star-studded side or will it be David slaughtering Goliath which might generate uncertainty over the reigning African kings’ participation in their fifth World Cup ever? Well, ninety minutes of action-packed football will decide.
The Walya Antelopes may well be in disarray following the unavailability of star striker Getaneh Kebede who is condemned to the sidelines due to injury and the distraction of the elections into the executive committee of the Ethiopia Football Federation. But coach Sewnet Bishaw believes his side, ranked a far-flung 93rd in the FIFA rankings, can pull the chestnut from the fire having gotten rid of South Africa to get to this decisive stage.
Plausible as this optimism may sound, the Antelopes will not find it smooth in demystifying the attacking forays of their West African visitors led by in-form Liverpool winger Victor Moses, whose brace made the difference when both sides clashed nine months ago in a keenly contested Afcon tie.
Nigeria have lost just two competitive fixtures since Keshi became manager in November 2011, and all the ‘Big Boss’ will be telling his boys is that a win against their hosts will put them in pole position to qualify for the World Cup.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Ethiopia have never qualified for the World Cup finals.
- Vincent Enyeama (pictured) will win his 87th cap if he starts against Ethiopia
- Ethiopia, ranked in the Fifa world rankings, are the lowest ranked team in the play-offs
- Nigeria coach Keshi scored a brace against Ethiopia as a player in 1982.
- The Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa is expected to influence this game due to its altitude.
- Ethiopia have only ever defeated Nigeria once in seven matches.
- Nigeria have won four of the seven matches against their hosts.