Ethiopia Coach Wubetu Abate has summoned 23 players for the double header against Niger in the frame of Match Days 3 and 4 of the 2021 Total Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers.
Abate, who got appointed last September, retained much of the squad regularly recalled by former coach Abraham Mebratu. Prolific goal scorer Getaneh Kebede is back to the squad as Abate sought to strength his forward line. Veteran midfielder Mesud Mohammed got a surprise calling while Shemeles Bekele, Asechalew Tamene, Abubakher Nessro and Surafel Dagnachew are some of the notable names included in the Waliyas squad.
Goalkeeper Abel Mamo and defender Anteneh Tesfaye were left out, while striker Mujib Kassim missed out after sustaining a muscle injury. Luckily Nessro, Daganchew and Amanuel Yohannis recovered quickly from injuries to get included in the squad.
Ethiopia played three friendly games against Zambia and Sudan in Addis Ababa ahead of Niger clash. Abate admitted his team lacked some key elements due to the COVID-19 pandemic, nonetheless, hoped his charges will do their best against Niger. "The players are back after seven months of inactivity. So basically, it is difficult to rectify our weaknesses within a month. The friendly games served as an eye opener for us. We should improve in our defending, goal scoring and creating chances," he said.
Abate also noted positive outing against Niger will be a morale booster for the Waliyas to qualify for the African Cup of Nations. "We must do good in the away game. Our aim is to get maximum points."
Ethiopia lost twice to Zambia before sharing spoils with Sudan in the friendlies. The Waliyas inflicted a huge upset last year when they beat Cote d'Ivorie 2-1 in Bahir Dar. They are second in the qualifying group trailing Madagascar.
Goalkeepers: Mentesenote Allo (Sebeta Town), Jemal Tassew (Unattached), Tekelemariam Shanko (Ethiopian Coffee)
Defenders: Yared Bayeh, Amsalu Tilahun (Fasil Kenema), Asechalew Tamene (Saint George), Wondemneh Dereje (Ethiopian Coffee), Mesay Paulos (Sebeta Town), Ramadan Yussuf (Wolkite Town), Sulieman Hamid (Hadiya Hossana)
Midfielders: Yihun Endeshaw, Shemkit Gugessa, Surafel Dagnachew (Fasil Kenema), Amanuel Yohannis, Tafesse Solomon (Ethiopian Coffee), Mesud Mohammed (Sebeta Town), Knean Markneh, Haider Sherefa (Saint George), Shemeles Bekele (Misr El Makassa, Egypt)
Forwards: Getaneh Kebede, Gadissa Mebrate (Saint George), Abubakher Nessero (Ethiopian Coffee), Amanuel Gebremikael (Mekelle 70 Enderta)