Friday, April 19, 2024
SportDire Dawastadium ready for primetime as national teams converge for Mayor Cup...

Dire Dawastadium ready for primetime as national teams converge for Mayor Cup test

With an opportunity to showcase their abilities on home soil, Ethiopia’s national football teamhas turned its focus to the upcoming Mayor’s Cup tournament scheduled for February 24th in Dire Dawa City.

Newly appointed coach Gebremedin Haile has selected a 30-player squad to represent Ethiopia’s hopes at the competition.

The Ethiopian Football Federationhas now assembled the team to commence regular training ahead of the tournament.

Along with Ethiopia, the national sides from Kenya, Djibouti and Rwanda will also participate in the tournament. The four-nation event will offer these teams a chance to benchmark themselves and could serve as an audition for some players ahead of future international fixtures. It also provides an opportunity to evaluate the upgrades to Dire Dawa’s stadium.

Experts recognized by FIFA deemed the pitch comparable to those used in the UEFA Champions League, though some work remains to fully comply with FIFA and CAF requirements. While grass installation is complete, facilities like dressing rooms, VIP areas, media center, restrooms and 20,000-seat spectator seating have been finished. The stadium is also equipped with elevators, and bench seating for substitutes is under construction.

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Domestically, the first half of the season ended at Adama Science and Technology University Stadium. Beginning February 21st, the second half of league play is scheduled to relocate to the refurbished Dire Dawa venue.

In other football news, the preliminary round draw for the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations to be hosted in Morocco has been announced. A total of 52 nations will contest qualifying for the continental tournament.

The initial stage will feature the eight lowest FIFA-ranked sides in home-and-away knockout format; the four winners will join 44 other teams in the group phase.

The fixtures for the qualifiers are scheduled during the next international window from March 20-26, 2024. Ethiopia have been placed in Group H alongside Nigeria, Gabon, Libya and Liberia.

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