Addis Ababa — Ethiopian Premier League Champions St. George beat Al Ahly Walmedani of Sudan with a 1-0 margin Sunday at the Abebe Bikila Stadium to lift the Addis trophy.
This international match was organized to mark the 125th founding anniversary of Addis Ababa by the Addis Ababa City Administration. St. George were last season's Addis Ababa City champions. They were selected to play this ceremonial match as they were champions of the City Cup.
The play was quite good and many football fans were at the stadium to watch this international match. To the surprise of many, St. George's top players like striker Adane, midfielder Tesfaye, defenders Degu and Abebaw and keeper Robert were not in the line up. Instead, the German head Coach Michael Kruger brought young talents on to the pitch. The newly recruited Cameroonian striker Joseph scored the winner in the second half.
This was a good international competition for St. George. But it would have been much better the Sudanese giant clubs such as Al Ahly and Al Merikh were invited for this tournament. The coach came up with young players knowing that the giants of Sudan were not invited.
St. George will participate in the Central and East African club championship that is expected to take place here in Addis. The date is not yet fixed because of tight international schedule.
As the champions of the Ethiopian Premier League, they will also take part in the African Champions League. Al Ahly of Egypt lifted this season's Champions League for the record 7th time. The Ethiopian teams didn't get the chance to reach in the round stage to this day. St. George had a long time ambition to be in the last eight stages.
Taking in this kind of international competitions is useful as part of the preparation for this grand continental event.
St. George captain Alula Girma received the trophy after the win. Alula got this opportunity simply because the team's captain defender Degu Debebe was not in the line up. Degu is also the national team captain.
St. George fans returned home with mixed feelings. They were happy for lifting the historic trophy. But many argued that it would have been good if their side came up with full squad.
There were few fans who argued that the senior players like striker Adane Girma need some rest after playing the tough match against Dedbit on Thursday. A fan said that it was good to give them rest to avoid a possible fatigue.
It is true that the senior ones are national players. Due to the African and World Cup qualifiers they did not get the necessary rest in the Ethiopian rainy season.