The Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) announced on Monday February 20 the appointment of Adama City coach Ashenafi Bekele as the new Ethiopian National Team coach. Ashenafi will lead the Walias for the coming two years. He replaces Gebremedhin Haile, who was sacked last year after falling out with EFF.
The new Walias coach Ashenafi will take his new position after Adama City host week 16 of Ethiopian Premier League (EPL) match against Dire Dawa City. Ashenafi is a veteran coach, having worked with different clubs in Ethiopia.
He was coaching Bank FC in 1992. He took Bank FC to Jordan to face the Iraqi national defense team.
Ashenafi Bekele was also the coach for the Ethiopian female national football team. In 2003, he took the women national football team to the 3rd Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament in Nigeria. Even though the team did not progress to the next stage, it was a great achievement for an Ethiopian female team to play at AFCON. In 2004 he took the Ethiopian female national team to the All-Africa Games which was held in Algiers.
In a statement, EFF noted that the appointment was made after an extensive vetting process, and Ashenafi emerged as the best candidate out of 11 local and15 foreign applicants. However, EFF decided to consider applications by foreign coaches.
Meanwhile, it was hinted that Mulugeta Mihretu, former Hawassa City midfielder who retired from football in 2015/16, would likely be appointed assistant coach.
Since he ended his football career in 1991, Ashenafi has worked as a coach for 25 years with these clubs – Adama City, Meta Beer, Ethiopian Insurance and Sidama Coffee.
Even though it failed to progress to the next stage, Adama City participated in the Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) clubs championship for two consecutive years. In the 2015/16 and 2016/17 EPL seasons, Adama City is performing well.
His first game in charge will be a qualifier for AFCON 2019 in Sierra Leone in June this year. Ethiopia will be in qualifying Group F alongside Kenya, Sierra Leone and Ghana.