13 February 2018

Ethiopia/South Sudan: St. George Advance to Next Round With Win Over Wau Salaam On Forfeiture

Saint George earned a 3-0 forfeiture over the South Sudanese side Wau Salaam in the first leg of the CAF Champions League preliminary round set to take place at the Addis Ababa stadium on Sunday.

The expected encounter at the Addis Ababa stadium didn't take place because the visiting side Wau Salaam didn't show up. Wau Salaam who didn't tell their absence to the host club or the Ethiopian football Federation ahead of the play, were expected to arrive late, St. George sources disclosed.

Match officials including referees were in Addis a day before the match. Some people were even expecting them to arrive on Sunday just hours before kick off.

If the past is any guide there are clubs who arrive late to face the home side a few hours after their appearance at the stadium to avoid the possible pressure of high Addis Ababa altitude. But most clubs come to Addis days before the encounter to acclimatize the Addis Ababa high altitude.

St. George had expenses in connection to this international match. They covered accommodation and internal transport cost for the match officials. Hotel was also reserved for the visitors. Until the last minute the hotel was expecting the arrival of their guests. All these, as per the regulation of the African football governing body, the Confederation of African Football, known as CAF, costs are covered by the host club.

The hope is that CAF will surely impose money fine on the South Sudanese side Wau Salaam to compensate the host team's financial loss.

In any case after the absence was confirmed, at lunch hour St. George officially announced that the stadium gates were opened allowing all flag waving fans including spectators to enter in to the stadium free of charge.

At the official kick off time, 4:00 Pm, approaches the referee, the match commissioner along with St. George players were received with applause and flag waving fans as they entered on to the pitch of the Addis Ababa stadium.

Then the referee told St. George players to warm up themselves until the compulsory 15 minutes was over.

When the referee's final whistle was heard St. George fans who were singing and dancing in an uninterrupted rhythm, jumped in to air with joy.

This has never been seen at the Addis Ababa stadium during official international matches prior to Sunday. What was known is that clubs or national teams tell the federation that they don't come for the coming encounter in advance.

But this time, according to the information obtained from the host team, they were not aware of their absence. This was a surprise for the home side officials.

This is the fourth successive year for St. George to take part in the CAF Champion's League. Last year the side made the country's record one better by reaching the Champion's League group stage.

Though unable to register good points at the group stage, the experience bagged was indeed valuable.

According to the assistant coach Fasil Tekalign the targetof the club this season is to repeat the feat of last year. "Last year we were in the group stage. That was very lucrative. Our football must generate income in different ways. One best possible way to get huge sum is reaching the lucrative group stage and going beyond that. That is what we aspire," Fasil said ahead of the scheduled Sunday match.

Compiled by Solomon Bekele

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