Ethiopia Football Team

The black lions of Ethiopia mauled the Nile Crocodiles of the Sudan, South Africa here we come…..

By Getahune Bekele, for Indepth Africa magazine

The Addis Ababa stadium was packed to the rafters with more than 30,000 screaming fans, an intimidating atmosphere for any visiting team. The Senegalese referee was struggling to get his message across due to the deafening noise.

The vibrant crowd once again shunned the TPLF authored divisive national anthem and instead openly and defiantly sang the patriotic “Atinesam woye”, rise up, a song made famous by anti TPLF protesters in May 2005.

The game was simply stunning, attacking soccer at its best with midfield maestro Alula Girma controlling the proceedings. His telepathic understanding and combination with star striker Saladin Saied was a joy to watch.

With his squad badly depleted by injury and suspension, black lion’s coach Sewnet ‘Mourinho’ Bishaw, the man who is leading Ethiopias’ football renaissance,   got his tactics spot on by not allowing the powerful Sudanese  time on the ball, and space to maneuver, hence disrupting their game plan of defending in numbers and trying to catch the lions through counter attacking.

Young center back Yared Zinabu was tower of strength in defense for the Ethiopians.

When the second and the crucial goal was scored by the flying black lion Saladin, from the Katanga section of the stadium reverberate a new song in oromifaa, “Bole Ya Ba Bole”, accompanied by Oromo folk dance known as Regeda.

The Ethiopians danced in unison, a rarity under classic divide and rule junta.

They also issued a statement to the titular premier Hailemariam Desalegn that it is time to enact change if the nation of 90 million is to avoid violent transition from warlordism to democracy.