The Ethiopian National Team is scheduled to play against Uganda in an international friendly at Addis Ababa Stadium on June 3, as both sides prepare for their opening fixtures in the AFCON 2019 qualifiers.
The newly appointed coach of the Walias, Ashenafi Bekele, is expected to announce selected players.
The Walias are in Group F with four-time African Cup of nation’s winner Ghana. Also in the group are Kenya and Sierra Leone. The Walias will play the first qualifier match against Ghana on June 9, 2017.
The friendly match was confirmed by the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) on Wednesday at FUFA house, Mengo in Kampala. The press conference was attended by the Cranes coach, Milutin Sredejovic.
Meanwhile, the Walias will also face Zambia this month. The Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) announced that they have requested Nigeria, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and Uganda for friendly matches. The aim is to build the Walias team spirit and commence preparations for the qualifiers.
“We have requested different teams for friendlies, but it is only the Ugandan side that confirmed to play against the Walias so far,” EFF president, Juniden Basha, told The Reporter.
The Cranes have showed an impressive quality last year especially at AFCON 2017 qualifiers. The Ugandans were in the group with Burkina Faso, Botswana and Comoros. The Cranes qualified for being one of the two runners-up with the best records.
Last year, they held Ghana to a goalless draw in Tamale.
Ethiopia will ultimately be looking to qualify for AFCON 2019, which will be held in Cameroon, but they have to finish on top of Group F or finish among the top three second best placed teams.
Ashenafi, who is keen on qualifying, understands the importance of kicking off the campaign on a high note.
Playing against Ghana away from home will call for precision and determination from the Walias whose last fixture was last September in a 2-1 win over Seychelles in the AFCON 2017 qualifiers.
Ghana played at AFCON 2017 in Gabon and reached the semifinals for a sixth consecutive time, a rather consistent feat that has seen them maintain their place among the top teams in African football.
The return game is will be played on October 12, 2018 in one Ethiopia’s stadiums.
Group F AFCON qualifier matches fixtures
June 9, 2017 Ghana vs. Ethiopia
March 23, 2018 Ethiopia vs. Sierra Leone
September 5, 2018 Ethiopia vs. Kenya
October 12, 2018 Ethiopia vs. Ghana
November 9, 2018 Sierra Leone vs. Ethiopia