Ethiopia has confirmed a definite date for the first leg match against Nigeria in the final playoff leading to Brazil 2014 World Cup. The first leg of the World Cup qualifying clash will take place on Sunday, October 13 in Addis Ababa, their football association officials have confirmed.
All ties will take place between October 11 and October 15 and the Ethiopia Football Federation has only now confirmed which day the match will be staged.
“We have played our home games on Sundays and the match against Nigeria will not be an exception,” commented EFF general secretary Yigsaw Bezuayehu.
The return match will be held on Saturday, November 16 at the U.J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar. The Nigerian federation has also retained Saturday as match day for the Super Eagles and Calabar as the venue for all the qualifying games.
The Minister of Sports Mr. Bolaji Abdullahi confirmed to The PUNCH on Tuesday that the Abuja National Stadium may not host matches anytime soon. The stadium was announced early in the year as likely venue for the last match of the team in the qualifying series.
He said it was the prerogative of the Nigeria Football Federation to decide which venue the Super Eagles games would hold.
“And as a matter of fact I don’t think it is even necessary to change their venue at this stage. Since they appear to have established a rhythm with Calabar I don’t think the NFF would consider using Abuja for now.
“The venue is fine now but I guess we can start with other games and later fixtures for the Eagles,” he said.
And as the build-up to the clash against Nigeria continues, Ethiopia are considering a warm-up against Ghana or Cameroon as part of their preparation for the match.
Although Ethiopia coach, Sewnet Bishaw, refused to reveal their detailed programme, an insider in the country’s FA informed MTNFootball.com that they were planning a warm-up match against Ghana or Cameroon, whom they consider play a similar brand of football to Nigeria.
The Walya Antelopes began their preparations for the October 13 clash in Addis Ababa on Tuesday with 24 players drawn from the domestic league, while four overseas-based professionals including Bidvest Wits of South Africa striker Getaneh Kebede are expected to join up on October 10.
“We shall start with the home-based players and intensify the training next week before the foreign-based players join us,” Bishaw said in Addis Ababa.
BY PIUS AYINOR , punchng.com