Why don’t Ethiopian players play for the national team?
The Ethiopian national football team, which returned to the Africa Cup of Nations after nine years, did not qualify for the tournament and returned home on time.
The Walia squad, comprised of two players from outside Ethiopia, did not play a significant role.
Shimeles Bekele, who plays for Egyptian club El Guna, has been ruled out with a hamstring injury. Mujib Qassim, who plays for Algeria’s JS Kabile, was not available for selection.
Of the 24 teams that participated in the Africa Cup of Nations, only Ethiopia did not have a footballer playing outside of Africa.
For example, Comoros, who made the knockout stages of the last 16 against Cameroon, is the first 11-man team to play in the Europa League.
Equatorial Guinea, who beat Alpha Malin to advance to the quarter-finals with Algeria and Côte d’Ivoire, are in the second and third divisions of Spain and Italy respectively.
Gambia, the first team to play in the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations against Cameroon, led by former Walia coach Tom Centif, is also accompanied by foreign players.
Why can’t the Walias include Ethiopian-born players? Because we don’t have a player in Europe? Or something else?
“Our participation was good,” said Wobetu Abate, head coach of the Ethiopian national football team, who was sent off with one point from the continent’s biggest tournament.
On the other hand, the Secretary General of the Federation, Bahru Tilahun, was heard saying, “We apologize to the Ethiopian people for not achieving the desired result.”
In the case of Ethiopians of Ethiopian descent, the Secretary General cited the issue of passports as the main reason.
“We cannot include Ethiopians of Ethiopian descent in the group because Ethiopia does not allow dual citizenship,” he said.
David Besha, a German who has previously played for the national team and for Ethiopian Coffee, says this should not be the case.
“Of course, based on my experience, if you are a citizen of another country, you cannot play for Ethiopia. Or you have to surrender your citizenship.”
Before the Africa Cup of Nations, David presented to the Ethiopian Football Federation and his coach a list of nine European players who are willing to play for Ethiopia.