New Ethiopia coach Abraham Mebratu is set to begin preparations for the 2019 Afcon qualifiers next week as he looks forward to their clash against Sierra Leone.
Following Ethiopia's 5-0 thumping at the hands of Ghana in Kumasi, Mebratu has inherited what could be a monumental task of inspiring his side in their remaining five matches.
The 48-year-old coach signed a two-year contract on Monday and is expected to name his backroom staff soon.
Making September’s assignment tougher is the fact that their opponents Sierra Leone have improved, having started the campaign on a 2-1 winning note against Kenya at home.
“We will be summoning three players in each position,” Mebratu said at a press conference during his unveiling.
“We will trim the squad to 23. We will begin preparations on August 7 in Hawassa.
“I promise to give 100 percent to the Ethiopian national team. Nonetheless, a national team coach could not do the job all by himself so I need to support of all the stakeholders,” he added.
The proposed friendly match against rival neighbours Eritrea is highly-anticipated by Mebratu to help him gear up for Sierra Leone.
The former Yemen coach has also included an alternative plan if the Eritrea match fails to materialise with a West African opponent being the next option.
“I know EFF (Ethiopia Football Federation) has reached on the Eritrean National Football Federation on a possible friendly game. I am still waiting on the date of the friendly game but if that match fails to materialise we shall seek a West African opponent for a build-up game," he said.
“Although I was working in Yemen for a long time, I kept in touch with Ethiopia’s football. I have been a CAF coaching instructor so I know how the players fare in the league. Luckily I have got support of (former Ethiopia coach) Sewnet Bishaw and other coaches," he added.
“If possible I would like to include nutritionists and video analysts,” he concluded.
Having helped Yemen qualify for the 2019 Asian Cup, Mebratu is highly-expected to breathe life back in to Ethiopia’s Afcon bid.
The Walias last qualified for Afcon finals in 2013 where they exited at the group stage.