An Ethiopian born coach Abraham Mebrahatu made history by leading the Yemeni national team to the Asian cup tournament for the first time. Yemen booked their place after a 2-1 win over Nepal on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. Mebratu’s side was slated to face Philippines, Tajikistan, and Nepal in Group F in which he won two and drew four in qualification matches.
Yemen finished second in the group stage with ten points qualifying for the 2019 Asian Cup. A total of 24 countries have qualified for the tournament which will be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“Due to the fact that there is a war in Yemen, there hasn’t been a league competition since 2014. This dire situation has been very challenging and daunting when it comes to assembling a national team for the qualifier. Nonetheless, we finally managed to get a squad to go all the way to the finals,” Abraham told BBC Sport.
Coach Abraham was in the Yemeni football since 2012 leading the Yemeni U-22 team for the 2013 Asia Football Confederation championships qualification. Abraham led the team to a 1-0 victory over Nepal in their first group stage clash, facing Uzbekistan in their second and holding them to a mundane 1-1 draw.
He has had extraordinarily successful years in Yemen dwelling in a challenging environment while the country is being rocked by political unrest and civil strife. According to Abraham’s statement, his team was unable to play at home and their three qualifiers were played in Qatar. In fact, many Yemeni players moved to other countries seeking asylum. They left their homeland in search of both refugee and regular football.
According to an Arab News report, most players remain without clubs and they hope for the resumption of domestic football anytime.
Meanwhile, through all this, Abraham has been residing there for the last ten years. He was a technical director for the Yemen national team. Before moving to Yemen, Abraham has been coaching several local clubs in Ethiopia including Ethiopia Coffee, Gumruk, Wonji, and Medhen.
Abraham was an instructor with a B-license coaching for which he took the courses in Ethiopia in 2012.