The qualifiers for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, which is slated to be held in Ivory Coast, saw disappointing results when the Ethiopian national team faced off against Guine’s team in the third and fourth group games. The national team’s lackluster play in the two matches drew widespread criticism.
Especially, the Walias’ performance against Guinea in the third game of the group has been heavily criticized by football experts. In the second game, the Walias did get a little bit better. But the Walias failed to eke out a win.
While many have voiced their opinions about the national team’s play in qualifying matches, it is still unclear whether or not the Walias will compete in the upcoming AFCON tournament. The Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) held a press conference where national team coach Wubetu Abate talked about the group stage matches.
Wubetu stated that the team’s objective when they went to Morocco to play a qualifying match was to get the points they needed.
“We couldn’t win either game the way we wanted to. We did not do well at all, especially in the first game. In the second game, we were able to do better. Now, we have a very small chance,” said Wubetu.
It also became apparent that the lack of consistency in the national team’s games is a reflection of the problems that clubs in the Premier League face.
Also, Wubetu says that there aren’t many teams that stay in the same position within the league, and it’s getting harder to find players who are consistent. He elaborated on why the national team was unable to achieve the desired results, citing issues with the team’s physical fitness, psychological make-up, and shared approach as key factors.
The national team lost 11 of its best players due to injuries, as pointed out by coach Wubetu, who noted that this is an indication of the problem that players were repeatedly injured even after returning home.
Preparations have begun for the upcoming qualifying match against the national teams of Malawi and Egypt in the wake of the national team’s loss. Wubetu stated that losing could be a possibility in the world of football. He says they will prepare for the rest of the games based on how mentally ready the players are.
When the coach was asked if he thought he was successful, he explained that the national team was not in the right alignment and that there were many infrastructures that needed to be improved.
“We went through different steps from the time we took over the team and got to work until the first game against Niger,” Wubetu added. The head coach said that just making it to the African Cup and the African Nations Championships (CHAN) in the last two years is a big deal.
“We think the mistakes we saw during the competition should be fixed and made better.” Wubetu stated.
The coach was questioned about whether or not he would resign from his position two years after taking over the national team. He mentioned that he had signed a contract for two years and that his departure was not his own doing.
Wubetu has overseen a total of 35 games, 10 of which were friendly matches. The Walias have only won six of these 25 games against other teams. The Walias are in Group 4 of the 2023 AFCON competition, along with Egypt, Guinea, and Malawi. With 3 points and a goal difference, Walias remain in fourth place. The last two group games for the national team are against Egypt and Malawi.