Coach Wubetu Abate believes his players have a point to prove in the opening match of the African Nations Championship (CHAN), which could see them secure Ethiopia’s first victory in the tournament.
Ethiopia will face Mozambique in their opening match at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers on Saturday. The two teams are placed in Group A along with the hosts Algeria and former CHAN winners Libya.
Wubetu seemed sure of his players’ preparations to register positive results Saturday.
“My team gains experience with every competition that they play. Our ambitions for this tournament are to qualify for the knockout stages.
“The team has improved enormously over the past year, not only tactically and technically, but also mentally.
“Often, the physical aspect of the game has failed us, but I can tell you that I have 26 Ethiopian champions ready to fight against Mozambique.
“Our objective for this game is to win at all costs because it is important to start this tournament with a victory.
“During the AFCON in Cameroon, we somehow reconnected with our fans even though we had not won any matches.
We want to give them a great victory in this CHAN.”
The players, who arrived in Algiers on Thursday, have been preparing for the opening game against Mozambique for “a few weeks.”
“We did video sessions to analyze the game of the Mozambicans,” Wubetu said.
“They are a dynamic team. They are well-conditioned. As soon as the game starts, they build their tempo and are consistent throughout the game,” he said while briefing reporters alongside Ethiopia’s captain Mohamed Mesut.
Mohamed said focus is the key to winning Saturday’s match.
“It is a formidable team. We do not hope for a gift for the first match. We will have to stay focused and above all respond to the intensity they will come with to this match,” Mohamed said.
Match: Ethiopia vs Mozambique
Venue: Nelson Mandela Stadium, Algiers
Kickoff: Saturday, 1300 GMT
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