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Africa Cup of Nations

Five Ethiopia players who enhanced their reputations at Afcon

12:02 PM WAT 21/01/2022
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GOAL profiles some of the players from the Walia Ibex squad, who enhanced their reputations at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon despite their group stage exit

Ethiopia returned to the Africa Cup of Nations nine years after their last appearance in the competition, the 2013 edition held in South Africa.

The Walia Ibex kicked off their Group A campaign in the 33rd Afcon with a narrow 1-0 loss to Cape Verde after being reduced to 10-men for over 70 minutes of the match.

In Match Day Two they came up against the rampant host nation roared on by a partisan crowd at the Paul Biya Stadium in Olembe and suffered a 4-1 defeat against the Indomitable Lions, despite opening the scoring in the fourth minute through Dawa Hotessa.

The East African nation then needed a win against Burkina Faso, a team ranked 77 places higher on the FIFA Ranking Table. After coming back from a goal down, Walia Ibex couldn't find a winner and had to settle for a credible draw against The Stallions.

The result was not enough to qualify for the next round but GOAL picks out five Ethiopia players who returned from the tournament with their reputations enhanced.

  • Ethiopian goalkeeper Teklemariam Shanko clashes with team mate Mignot Debebe of Ethiopia.

    Teklemariam Shanko

    The 24-year-old, who features for Sidama Coffee in the Ethiopian Premier League, was exceptional for the Walia Ibex especially in the opening game against the Blue Sharks and the last fixture against the Stallions.

    Shanko, who has also played for Addis Ababa City and Hawassa City, also put in a superb show to deny Cape Verde a larger margin of victory after his team was forced to play most of the game with 10-men after defender Yared Bayeh Belay was shown a straight red card.

    Again, he was a stand-out performer against Burkina Faso’s formidable attack led by Gustavo Sangare and Bertrand Traore, helping his side earn a deserved 1-1 draw.

  • Ramadan Yusef of Ethiopia controls possession during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

    Ramadan Yusef

    The left-back was among the youngest players named in the Walia Ibex squad, and he did not disappoint coach Wubetu Abate, who trusted him with the role in all three matches at Olembe Stadium.

    The 20-year-old Yusef, who currently turns out for Ethiopian club Wolkite City, had a wonderful game in the 1-0 defeat against Cape Verde after his team was reduced to 10-men. He handled his defensive duties with aplomb in difficult circumstances and in the main, snuffed out any danger from Cape Verde's right-sided attackers.

    His superb display against Burkina Faso can also not go unnoticed as he was involved in a number of chances created by the Walia Ibex, especially in the second half of the game which they dominated with 56 percent of ball possession.

  • Walia Logo GFX

    Walia Beer

    Walia beer official sponsor of Ethiopia national team.

  • Amanuel Yohannes Gamo of Ethiopia challenged by Erickson Patrick Andrade of Cape Verde.

    Amanuel Yohannes

    The 22-year-old performed well in the midfield engine room for the Walia Ibex especially in the final match against the Stallions where he bossed the midfield, especially in the second half.

    Yohannes, who features for Ethiopian Coffee, was a constant threat with his eye for a defense-splitting pass but remained energetic and disciplined with tracking back to help the defenders when the team was under attack.

    He was also involved with the build-up to the Walia Ibex's goal against Cameroon as he set up Amanuel Gebremichael in space, who in turn laid a cross to Dawa Hotessa to put them ahead in the early stages of the match.

  • Surafel Dagnachew of Ethiopia during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Afcon Finals.

    Surafel Dagnachew

    Dagnachew formed a great partnership with Yohannes at the heart of the Walia Ibex midfield and it was no surprise coach Abate used him in all three matches.

    The 24-year-old Fasil Kenema player was making his first appearance at the Afcon stage but he did not disappoint with his solid approach to the game, keeping possession well and getting the ball into the attackers.

    Dagnachew, who was awarded the Ethiopian Football federation Player of the Year award for the 2018-19 season and has also played for Adama City, should return home a proud man despite the Walia Ibex failing to make it to the Round of 16.

  • Getaneh Kebede of Ethiopia during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Afcon.

    Getaneh Kebede

    The 29-year-old forward proved age is just a number after a superb show at Afcon, leading the Walia Ibex as the captain and also proving a thorn in the side of every team they came up against.

    The Wolkite City F.C player grabbed the headlines at the 33rd edition after he cooly converted from the penalty spot in the 52nd minute against Burkina Faso, beating the outstretched arm of goalkeeper Farid Ouedraogo. However, he was also denied a second goal and likely winner by two superb saves from Ouedraogo.

    Kebede, who has also played in South Africa for Bidvest Wits and the University of Pretoria, satisfied his inclusion in the squad and the captaincy role.