Friday, April 19, 2024
SportThrills, setbacks, and redemption: Sporting season recapped

Thrills, setbacks, and redemption: Sporting season recapped

In the whirlwind of the 2022–23 sports seasons, Ethiopia bore witness to a vibrant tapestry of local and international competitions. From the gripping battles on the football pitch to the electrifying races on the track, the nation’s athletic spirit soared to new heights.

At the heart of the action was the Ethiopian Premier League (EPL), a spectacle that unfolded in various cities across the country. While the EPL Share Company orchestrated the proceedings, it faced its fair share of challenges. The scarcity of playing fields and financial constraints burdened the clubs, leaving them struggling to meet players’ salaries.

The Ethiopian national football team embarked on a quest to conquer the continent in the prestigious Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers.  The Walias , overcoming logistical hurdles, including the lack of stadiums meeting the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) stringent standards, they took to the field in neighboring African nations.

Pitted against formidable opponents like Egypt, Guinea, and Malawi in Group D, the Walias showcased their mettle. While their journey to the group stage was cut short, their indomitable spirit shone through in a remarkable victory over Egypt during the qualification match. The echoes of that triumph reverberated across the nation, igniting hope and pride among football enthusiasts.

However, not all was smooth sailing for the national team. Disappointing performances in the group stage prompted the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) to make a tough decision. The contract with Coach Wubetu Abate was severed, signaling a new chapter in the team’s pursuit of glory.

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Following a challenging 2022–23 season, the Ethiopian football national team is gearing up for a fresh start. With the Ethiopian New Year fast approaching, the team has set its sights on various continental and national competitions that lie ahead. Under the guidance of an interim coach in the previous season, the national team faced its share of obstacles and fell short of their aspirations. However, with the arrival of a new coach, there is a renewed sense of hope and determination among the players.

In an exciting development, the national team is expected to play their qualifier matches on home soil, utilizing stadiums within Ethiopia.

Looking ahead, one tournament that holds significant anticipation for football fans is the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), scheduled to take place in Côte d’Ivoire in January 2024. Although Ethiopia did not participate in the previous edition of AFCON, the upcoming tournament has garnered immense excitement among football enthusiasts. The prospect of witnessing top African nations competing for continental glory adds an extra layer of anticipation to the 2024 season.

Athletics

The stage was set for Ethiopia’s athletic team as they prepared to make their mark at the 19th Budapest World Athletics Championship. With their eyes firmly fixed on the coveted prize, they carried the weight of their nation’s hopes and aspirations upon their shoulders.

The echoes of their performances at the 2022 Oregon Athletics Championships reverberated through the athletics world.

Ethiopia’s track and field stars illuminated the competition with their exceptional talent and unwavering determination. In the fiercely competitive 1500 meters, they clinched a well-deserved silver medal, leaving spectators in awe of their speed and tenacity. And it didn’t stop there.

The women’s 10,000 meters witnessed a breathtaking display of Ethiopian dominance. As the nation’s athletes swept the top three spots. This commanding performance solidified Ethiopia’s reputation as a force to be reckoned with in the world of long-distance running. In the grueling 3,000-meter steeplechase, they conquered every hurdle with grace and precision, claiming victory. And in the women’s marathon, they exhibited remarkable endurance, crossing the finish line with sheer determination etched on their faces.

Their achievements on the global stage were not without recognition. Collectively, the Ethiopian athletics team amassed an impressive tally of nine medals throughout the championships. This remarkable feat propelled them to a respectable sixth place in the world rankings, falling short of their lofty expectations.

The eyes of the sporting world will turn to Paris, France, as the highly anticipated 2024 Olympic Games take center stage. Spanning from July 26 to August 11, this prestigious event will bring together athletes from more than 206 countries, making it a truly global celebration of athletic prowess and unity.

Paris, the main host city, will serve as the vibrant backdrop for the Games, while an additional 16 cities across metropolitan France will share in the excitement by hosting various competitions. With its rich history, iconic landmarks, and passionate crowds, Paris is poised to provide an unforgettable stage for the world’s most elite athletes to showcase their skills and chase their Olympic dreams.

The Ethiopian athletics squad, which has been a part of the Olympic Games since 1956, aims to make its mark on the global stage once again. Following their performances at the Budapest World Championships, where they fell short of their desired results, Ethiopian athletes have their sights firmly set on the Paris Olympics, seeking redemption and a chance to shine.

The Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF) has taken note of the need for reorganization within the national athletics team. With six months of intensive preparation ahead, the EAF is committed to ensuring that the athletes are in peak form for the Paris Games. This reorganization reflects the country’s commitment to nurturing and harnessing the immense talent within its ranks, as they strive to reach new heights on the world’s biggest stage.

Motivated by their disappointment in Budapest, the Ethiopian athletes harbor a burning determination to make amends at the Paris Olympics. They have vowed to showcase their true potential and reclaim their place among the world’s athletic elite.

St. George FC Secures 16th title in style

In a remarkable feat, St. George FC has once again etched their name in the annals of football history as they clinched their 16th championship title, setting a new standard of excellence. Head coach Zerihun Shengeta joined forces with his dedicated video assistant to revolutionize the team’s training regimens, resulting in a mesmerizing display of skill on the field.

The Horsemen galloped to victory, amassing an impressive tally of 63 points throughout the season. Their relentless pursuit of triumph led them to conquer 18 out of 29 games, while settling for nine draws and suffering a mere two defeats. The team’s performance has not gone unnoticed, as three of its star have been rightfully nominated for the coveted Star Player awards.

Ismael Oro Agoro, the prolific goal-scorer, alongside midfield maestros Biniyam Belay and Amanuel Tirfu, have showcased their unrivaled talent, contributing significantly to their team’s dominant display. Moreover, Coach Zerihun’s exceptional leadership has garnered him a well-deserved nomination for the prestigious Coach of the Year accolade.

Walias struggle under Coach Wubetu Abate

The Walias, under the guidance of Coach Wubetu Abate, embarked on a challenging journey, facing formidable obstacles along the way. Over the course of 35 games, including 10 friendly matches, the Walias emerged victorious only in six encounters. Holding their heads high, the team finished in fourth spot in the 2023 AFCON qualifiers, amassing three points.

Ethiopian Premier League 2023/24

The 2023–24 Ethiopian Premier League (EPL) is on the cusp of an intriguing new chapter, promising fresh formats and captivating changes. In a notable shift, the EPL Share Company bids farewell to its previous title sponsor, Betiking, and embraces a new partnership with the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE).

In previous seasons, the EPL featured a roster of 16 clubs battling it out on the field, with three clubs facing relegation and three clubs earning promotion. However, the upcoming 2023–24 campaign introduces a twist as only two clubs will secure promotion to the league. This alteration intensifies the competition, as clubs vie fiercely for the coveted spots and strive to showcase their prowess on the EPL stage.

An eagerly anticipated development for football enthusiasts in the capital city is the return of EPL matches to the Addis Ababa stadium. For over three years, the absence of matches in the city has left fans longing for the electrifying atmosphere and thrilling clashes on their home turf.

Their patience is rewarded this season as the Addis Ababa stadium once again becomes the backdrop for pulsating EPL encounters. With the countdown underway, players, coaches, and fans brace themselves for the highly anticipated 2023–24 EPL season.

As the dust settles on the 2022–23 season, Ethiopia’s sporting landscape stands as a testament to resilience and passion. The challenges faced along the way have only strengthened the resolve of athletes, administrators, and fans alike.

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