The game between Algerian and Ethiopia
The Ethiopian national football team will take on Algeria today, Tuesday, at the Addis Ababa Stadium in the return leg of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying tournament.
In the first leg held last Friday Algeria, commonly called the Desert Foxes, enjoyed a devastating 7-1 victory over Ethiopia to maintain their top place of Group J in the qualification series. The national side stand second in the table on four points, five points adrift of the group leaders Algeria.
Algeria's striker who plays for Valencia Sofiane Feghouli opened the goal harvest in the 24th minute to put his side in a 1-0 lead. Just six minutes later Sorting Lisbon striker Slimani made it 2-0. The Desert Foxes could have added the third goal before the end of the first half, but Porto play-maker Yacine Brahimi hit a penalty wide. The score remained 2-0 at the interval.
Then the national football fans thought their side would possibly close the margin of defeat but it was not to be so. In the second half Algeria maintained their full control of the game and added another five goals to seal the final score at 7-1. Ethiopia's striker Getaneh Kebede scored the consolation goal.
Many found it extremely difficult to swallow that harsh defeat. It is true that the Algerian side are the leading team in Africa in FIFA ranking list and Ethiopia is way down. Despite this difference nobody expected such demolition by the Desert Foxes on Friday. Their performance in the qualifiers has never been in good form from the start. The 7-1 defeat is the worst of all. In fact this was a demolition the country faced for the first time in the span of three or so years.
For the national side it is now clear that it is not possible to get a place in the 2017 Gabon African Nations Cup. Algeria with nine points from 3 games are sure to advance in to the final remaining top of Group J.
The national side reached the 29th African Nations Cup finals for the first time in 31 years in 2013 in South Africa. Coach Sewnet Bishaw who guided the national side in to final takes the credit for that big achievement.
The current coach Yohanes Sahile became in charge of the national side at the start of last year. The contract made between the coach and the country's football governing body, Ethiopian Football Federation clearly states that unless he guides the national side in to the 2017 Gabon African Nations Cup final, he will be terminated. In the wake of this devastating 7-1 defeat, his dismissal has looks eminent. The final decision is likely to be given after today's return match. The only chance for the coach to save his job and his lucrative 75 thousand birr monthly pay with additional benefits will be the results from today's match against Algeria. A win may help him remain in his driving seat for some time to come. Whatever the case may be, it is highly likely this disgraceful defeat to bring his dismissal sooner rather later.
Meanwhile, Mohamed Salah scored a late equaliser for Egypt away to Nigeria in their 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier as an estimated 40,000 people watched in a 25,000-capacity stadium on Friday.
The Kaduna State government let fans in for free at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, which led to severe overcrowding.
The draw keeps the Pharaohs on top of Group G by two points from Nigeria.
Nigeria took the lead on the hour through Warri Wolves' Etebo Oghenekaro before Roma winger Salah's equaliser.
Some supporters climbed up floodlight scaffolding to watch the game, while others sat on the roof of neighbouring houses. No off-pitch incidents were reported.
Only the top two teams from each group are guaranteed progress to the next round in the race to reach Gabon.
The seven-time champions Egypt and Nigeria face off in a highly crucial reverse fixture in Alexandria today, Tuesday.