Year in Sports
Kenenisa Vs Eipchoge
The 38th edition of the London marathon was a highly anticipated competition of the year. Two of the greatest distance runners in history and the two fastest men in the marathon distance race, were planned to go head to head in April. However, it has been postponed from April to October 4 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Including Kenenisa and Kipchoge, the elite men’s race includes eight athletes who have run 2:05 in marathon races.
After the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) appointed Coach Abraham Mebrahtu, the Ethiopian national team defeated Ivory Coast in the 2021 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers match in Bahir Dar stadium. Compared to previous outings, the Walias have started their campaign in the right tune. Grouped with Ivory Coast, Niger and Madagascar, the Walias are placed second in the group with three points and will play the third round qualifier against Niger following CAF’s new schedule.
In what could be considered a new low in Ethiopian football, it can be recalled that a couple of years back, referee Eyasu Fanta, in a match between Defense and Welwalo, was attacked for a last minute decision he made, sending shockwaves in the sporting arena. Making matters worse, 11 other referees were assaulted. Fade up with the attacks, the Ethiopian Referees Association decided to stop officiating league matches for three consecutive game weeks, prompting change. However, after several meetings and awareness sessions were held in the 2019/2020 season, a newly elected committee of seven started monitoring the league.
EPL caps salary
The 2019/20 EPL season set-out to limit the amount of money a team can spend on players’ wages. Clubs in the Ethiopian Premier League (EPL) have agreed to put a cap on players’ wages. After the final discussions were held, the representatives voted to reach a proposed salary cap of 50,000 birr (USD 1,736) on a monthly basis.
Except for four clubs, 12 EPL clubs representatives have agreed to the cap with Ethiopia Coffee, St. George, Welwalo Adigrat University and Sihul Shire not taking part in the meeting. However, none of the clubs have applied the salary cap.
EPL matches postponed
As much of the world continued to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, the EPL, following the direction given by health officials, have postponed the weekly games. However, the league has often struggled with keeping schedule, due to unrest in the country, even before the pandemic hit. Almost all sporting events in Ethiopia and around the world have been either cancelled or postponed, after the World Health Organization (WHO) announced COVID-19 has become a pandemic.
Loza Shines in Malta
Loza, who joined the Malta based Football Club, Birkirkara on a one year contract a couple of months ago, is making history pushing her career a step further. On December 11, 2019, many media outlets were busy reporting about the Ethiopian goal machine. Having a knack for goals, it can be recalled that back in Ethiopia Loza was able to score nine goals in a single match. She scored a hat trick in an 8-1 win against the Raiders, quickly following it up with a 17-0 thrashing of Hibernians, where she was able to score seven goals. Currently, she sits atop the list of goal scorers in the Maltese league, with 24 goals scored for Birkirkara FC.
All African Games
The women’s 10,000m race produced one of the major reels on the fourth day at the African Games in Rabat, with Ethiopia stamping their authority in the event. Ethiopia participated in 13 sport categories in the Games. On the leader’s board, Ethiopian athletes managed to collect six gold medals, five silver and 12 bronze medals. The medals collected were mainly in athletics, taekwondo and cycling.
Striking a blow to Japan, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which was meant to be a statement for japan after the 2015 Fukashima nuclear disaster, was postponed due to COVID-19. The Olympic game slated for 2021, still remains in limbo.
Over 206 nations, 11,091 athletes and 339 sport events in 50 disciplines are expected to participate in the Tokyo Olympics. According to the organizers, the cost of hosting the Olympics was 1.35 trillion yen (USD 12.35 billion) and this figure does not include the cost of moving the marathon to a later date, to avoid the summer heat, a decision taken in October 2019. Apart from that, over 15 international races have also been cancelled due COVID-19. It is to be recalled that the World Athletics (WA) announced a USD 500,000 pledge to help athletes across the world affected by the pandemic.