14 August 2018

Ethiopia: Kenya Faces Fresh Anti-Doping Crisis While Ethiopia Remains in Problem List Countries

Almaz, right and Genzebe, centre

ADDIS ABABA - Kenya faced fresh anti-doping crises after two of its international athletes were exposed for taking banned substances in the last two weeks but both athletes denied the allegation.

This is not the first time for Kenyans to face this kind of offence by the international anti-doping governing body. Two-time world cross-country world champion Emily Chebet is among the Kenyan athletes to have been banned for doping offences exactly two years ago.

At that time Kenya has been declared in breach of global anti-doping rules. Kenya, one of the major forces in world athletics, has already missed two World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) deadlines to show it is tackling cheating in sport.

Wada's compliance committee ruled the country "non-compliant" citing issues with anti-doping legislation.

The recommendation needs to be ratified by the Wada board. After a series of drugs and corruption scandals, Kenya had been warned to comply with Wada's rules or face sanctions.

Later on by the interference of the country's President Uhuru Kenyatta, it finally passed legislation that created a new national anti-doping agency. By then it was widely assumed that the measure would satisfy Wada. But that failed to live up to expectations.

Running powerhouse Ethiopia previously identified as one of five countries with an anti-doping program in "critical care." Kenya, Morocco, Belarus and Ukraine were named as problem countries by the head of world athletics anti doping governing body.

The Ethiopian case, of course, is by far different from that of Kenya. None of the Ethiopian world class athletes has been found in drug taking scandal.

Despite this, following an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) council meeting, national federations was divided into three categories with differing obligations based on their level of success and the perceived risk of doping.

Before the introduction of this new regulation, for too long the strict requirements of the anti-doping rules have fallen largely onto athletes.

But the "The IAAF Council adopted rules that make all of its member federations accountable on anti-doping matters." This helped ensure lasting and meaningful change in athletics, The world anti-doping governing body, WADA, claims.

Accordingly, the IAAF said five member federations - Kenya, Ethiopia, Belarus, Ukraine and Morocco - would constitute the current watch list of Category A, which includes the members most at risk of doping.

Athletes from those countries will have to undergo at least three out-of-competition doping tests in the 10 months prior to a world championships or Olympics.

The power to categorize members into one of three groups will rest with WADA and the new rules will come into effect from 2019, a year before the Tokyo Olympics.

One of the factors for this conclusion was the joint investigation by the Guardian, the German broadcaster ARD and Holland Media Combination that suggested how easy it is to obtain doping products in Ethiopia. This was suggested just months before the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Plus, there emerges a prevailing sense of disorganization at the Ethiopian anti-doping agency.

For years, it has been Ethiopia's east African neighbor Kenya in the spotlight for doping offences. Last year another documentary by ARD contained allegations that doping was rife at a high-altitude training camp in Iten including a doctor filmed on a hidden camera claiming he had supplied "more than 50" athletes, including three British runners, with doping products.

Ethiopian runners, most of them, don't have the knowledge to buy their own doping products so it is suggested that managers getting them.

For instance, Aden was arrested before the Rio Olympics after EPO and other medicine was found in his hotel room in Spain, where he was at a training camp with athletes including Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba, a favourite for gold in Rio Olympics. Following Aden's arrest Genzebe said their relationship was based only around training and that she was "neat and crystal clean". It was proved that she was clean.

Also, Ethiopia-born former 1,500-meter world champion Abeba Aregawi, who now competes for Sweden, tested positive for meldonium and faced a ban. Abeba reportedly failed the test in Ethiopia, where she spends much of her time.

When Almaz Ayana cruised to a record breaking Rio Olympics 10, 000m victory in 2016 many failed to believe that she was clean. The doping officials made it clear that Almaz won the race by the skin of her teeth.

Though difficult to put Ethiopian athletes on a par with Kenyans the expansion rate of doping is alarming.

Many Ethiopian coaches blame the prevalence of doping in the country on increasing numbers of foreign coaches and agents, particularly from Eastern Europe.

There are managers who are doing their business from their heart and there are others who are doing it for money. The thing is that the bad managers only care when the athletes are participating in races, after that they throw them away. Due to this the Ethiopian athletes must be careful not to take medicine even if their managers forced them to do so.

EFF drafts strategic planning with high focus on discipline

ADDIS ABABA - The newly elected Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) Executive Committee Members, professionals and stakeholders including club officials held a three-day meeting to draft the future strategic plan of the federation.

The meeting was concluded last Friday with different proposals to be implemented in the days ahead.

The new EFF leadership headed by President Isayas Jira took office in June 2018 election held in Semera, the capital of Afar.

The federation said that reorganizing the office of the EFF will be a priority in the new plan. The federation requires professionals to run the day to day activities in accordance to FIFA and CAF regulation.

The standing committees of the federation should be composed of people who have the knowledge of their assignment. The marketing department, the IT unit are next in line to be fully restructured. According to the decision these two departments are crucial for the future of the federation.

Above all, EFF gives much emphasis on fair-play. All the participants were active in forwarding their ideas towards the rise of football hooliganism that looks like a disease without medicine.

Lives were lost; injuries were registered in the season just concluded last July. After the violent confrontation occurred in Woldiya City during the match against Mekele City in December 2017, two people died.

Taken all together, the damages reached hundreds of thousands birr at the stadium in Addis Ababa and elsewhere in the country due to crowed disturbance. Cognizant to this many people called for the closure of the competition.

It was also argued that this is not a solution to the already aggravated football violence or hooliganism in the country.

It was almost common practice to notice violence in derby matches. What was suggested was that no one was arrested for that vandalism and fighting.

Citing examples from the league competitions most stakeholders argued that many people were hit by the stone and some of them were seen when they took first aid on the pitch.

Time and again Sports ministers and federation convened to discuss how to stop what one called "soccer terrorism". But that didn't stop it.

This is not the first time for the federation to have lengthy discussion on ways how to stop this deep rooted disease before the start of the season. It was officially announced that the federation would take strong action including point reduction up to suspension if clubs are not refrained from taking part in disturbance. That didn't help stopping violence.

Surprisingly enough, some of the incidents took place at the opening day of the Ethiopian Premier League football club competition in 2017/2018 season.

The disciplinary Committee of the federation impose heavy fine on the club. That didn't stop the incident that seems 'a new normal.'

Well, punishing the club is one thing but punishing the actual perpetrator is absolutely another thing.

The problem in the Ethiopian case is the offender is not liable to the offence he or she committed.

The new leadership at the end vowed to take every action to stop the violence that appeared on the pitch time and again.

They have agreed to ban like chanting against the opponent's side citing ethnic background and misbehaving fans.

It was odd to observe that the new leadership, as usual, shy away from installing security camera which is called CCTV to identify the perpetrator but this was not put in to account.

National U-17 football team enjoy 1-0 win over Uganda

ADDIS ABABA - The Ethiopian national football youth team had a 1-0 win over Uganda on Sunday. The result gave them the chance to go through to the African Youth Championship finals.

The qualification match was held in the CECAFA Cup that takes place in Tanzania. The CECAFA Cup brought together 10 regional teams of whom the champions and the runners-up will go through to the 2019 African U-17 Championship Cup finals. The Ethiopian youth team are in Group B along with Uganda, Kenya, Southern Sudan and Djibouti While host Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia and Sudan are in Group A.

The Ethiopian U-17 football team head coach Temesgen Dana expects a place in the finals after beating the hot favourites Uganda on Sunday. The goalie of the youth team took credit for the win after saving the penalty, the coach said.

The coach appreciated the performance of his boys. "If they keep up this spirit it is a sure thing that we will go through," he said.

International referee Lidya in France World Cup

ADDIS ABABA- Ethiopian international referee Lidiya Tafese is currently in France to officiate the 2018 FIFA France U-20 Women's World Cup finals.

FIFA online reported that she is selected for the 2018 FIFA World Cup following her rich experience in different international games.

She has officiated the African Women's Cup semi-final match in 2015. Same year she was also part of the officials at he World Cup staged in Canada and the FIFA U-17 world Cup in Jordan.

Serving in these big international meets helped her get the opportunity to be elected for France, Lidiya said.

Mango guides Bahir Dar City to promote to elite league

ADDIS ABABA - Coach Paulos Getachew, widely known as Mango, guided Bahir Dar City to promote to the Ethiopian Premier League football club competition for the coming season.

As football player Mango was a very popular right winger for Coffee and the national team. After retiring he has begun his coaching career as Coffee's women's side. He was successful in organizing and competing in big local league with coffee women's team.

This season when he took responsibility of Bahir Dar he predicted that his side would join the Premier League next season. He does so. By next year he will be at the Addis Ababa stadium as the Premier League side coach.

He is one of the young generations of coaches at this time who turned in to coaching after retirement from playing football.

This is big news for people in Bahir Dar who didn't watch premier league matches on their pitch after the Bahir Dar Textile side relegated 13 years ago. This is also the first time to have premier league matches after having the 70-thousand capacity stadium at Bahir Dar.

Compiled by Solomon Bekele

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