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Walias to face Lesotho in 2022 Qatar World Cup preliminary rounds

The Ethiopian National Team a.k.a. the Walias will take on Lesotho in the preliminary rounds of the 2022 Qatar World Cup qualification competition, with the first leg to be played on the Walias’ home soil.

With the draw for the preliminary round conducted last week, FIFA has announced the inclusion of 28 countries in the first round of the qualification competition with home and away fixtures to be played from September 2-10, 2019. The 14 teams that have won their head-to-head matches will join the 26 teams in the next phase.

Just ten days after Algeria triumphed at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations, the continent staged its draw for the first rounds of the qualification game for football’s flagship event. The qualifying process will only include 28 of the continent’s teams ranked lowest in July’s edition of the FIFA Coca-Cola World Ranking.

The 14 winners will join the continent’s top-ranked 26 sides, which did not take part in the initial round of qualifiers. These 40 teams, including the 14, will be spilt into ten groups of four for the second round of qualifiers. Finally, the ten winners of those groups will be drawn against each other in home and away fixtures, with the five top sides securing a place at Qatar 2022.

As it can be recalled, the Walias had made a brief appearance in the World Cup preliminary matchup in 2010. However, Ethiopia has already played four group level matches to qualify for the 10-team rounds when FIFA announced the immediate suspension of the Ethiopian Football Federation.

In the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification, again, with a 5-0 aggregate victory over Somalia, the Walias advanced to the group stage to qualify for Brazil. Ethiopia joined South Africa, Botswana, and Central African Republic in group A. However, the team eventually was knocked out from the group stages after three points were awarded to Botswana as it was discovered that Ethiopia fielded an ineligible player.