Ethiopia’s Walia Ibex will be without injured and influential striker Melka Aschalew Girma when they face Rwanda in the return leg of Total African Nations Championship Morocco 2018 Playoff due on Sunday at Stade de Kigali in Nyamirambo.
The Ethiopia head coach Ashenafi Bekele omitted the 21-year old St. George SC striker after he suffered a knee injury in this week’s training session and failed to recover in time for their flight to Kigali due on Friday afternoon.
Bekele has instead replaced him with team mate Dukele Dawa Hotessa who will lead his striking power as Ethiopia seeks to overcome a 2-3 loss against Rwanda in bid to qualify to next year’s continental championship.
In the first leg, Girma helped Ethiopia break deadlock in the 18th minute through a superb strike before Eric Rutanga put Amavubi on level in the 55th minute with a wonderful free kick.
However, the hosts extended the lead again-thanks to playmaker Abubakher Sanni, who headed in a cross from midfielder Samson Tilahun from the left flank in 65th minute.
Amavubi was later to hit back in the 78th minute. Substitute Muhadjiri Hakizimana capitalised on a blunder by Ethiopian goalie Birhanu to level in the 78th minute, before Abeddy Biramahire scored the winner two minutes later.
The Walia Ibex are expected to arrive in Kigali on Friday afternoon. They will be accommodated at Galaxy Hotel with their training session slated for Saturday at Stade de Kigali.
Meanwhile, Amavubi head coach Antoine Hey has been putting his charges through their paces for the final leg this Sunday in a quest to register a double over their opponents.
With a 3-2 first leg win, any result other than defeat will see Rwanda completing the line-up for the next year’s finals in Morocco, joining Uganda and Sudan as the other representatives of the CECAFA region.
Rwanda took part in the 2011 edition held in Sudan, before hosting the 2016 edition when they reached the quarter-final round, losing to eventual winners DR Congo whilst Ethiopia participated at the last two editions, 2014 and 2016.
The draw for the finals tournament is scheduled for November 17 in Morocco and the finals tournament will run from January 12 to February 4 next year.
Ethiopia Team Delegation:
Bekele Meles Beharu, Tefera Ashenafi Bekele, Mirutse Belete Gebrekidan, Kemal Zerihun Shengeta, Hagos Tsegazeab Asgedom, Desta Yishak Shifferaw, Mengesha Assefa Tesfaye, Welda Hailu Awegcho, Aynekulu Lealem Birhanu, Bushura Jemal Tasew, Seyoum Aschalew Tamene, Igata DestaYohannes, Bolado Mulualem Mesfen, Hussen Saladin Bargecho, Gibeto Getaneh Kebede, Ayele Firew Selemon, Umema Mentsenot Adane, Dukele Dawa Hotessa, Melka Aschalew Girma, BuneA Abebaw Butako, Musssa Mesud Mohammed, Alemu Samson Tilahun, Medelcho Eshetu Mena, Abdela Abubeker Sani, Amede Ame Mehamed and Debele Girma Bekele.