On 13 January five men vie to become the next president of the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF).
Despite its place as one of the founding members of the Confederation of African Football (Caf) and former Africa Cup of Nations winners Ethiopian football has struggled in recent years.
The five men hoping to change that are incumbent Juneidin Basha, former president Dr Ashebir Woldegiorgis, Teka Assefaw, Dagim Melashen and Esayas Jira.
The elections, which will also see a new executive voted in, had been due to take place on 10 November but were postponed in order for the candidates to be properly vetted.
Two former national team coaches, Sewnet Beshaw and Asrat Haile, are bidding for places on the executive committee.
Basha says if he gets another term as president he wants to help clubs establish their own league and allow the EFF to concentrate on other matters.
“I promise to help clubs form their own league while EFF should focus on development of football,” he told BBC Sport.
“[Our focus will be on] Grassroots projects in regional states and schools, developing our human resource capacity and forging good alliances in the international arena.”
Basha also highlighted his achievements since becoming EFF president in October 2013.
“Since I became president, clubs have been established across the country so now football is not only being played in Addis Ababa but across all the states.
“I worked on age cheating, grassroots projects, marketing and we also successfully hosted the historical Caf General Assembly in March 2017.”
Dr Ashebir Woldegiorgis
Dr Woldegiorgis was EFF president between 2005 and 2009 during which time infighting led to a a global ban that saw Ethiopia thrown out of 2010 World Cup qualifying.
He is currently embroiled in further problems after he left his post as the head of the Ethiopian Basketball Federation soon after being elected in order to stand in the EFF polls.
“As a founding member of the Confederation of African Football (Caf), Ethiopia deserves to be in a better place,” he insisted.
“I want to forge a healthy relationship with the media. We should engage clubs in national matters and clubs should establish their own league.
“I want to cooperate with regional states in building youth academies across the country. I will try to benefit clubs from sport broadcasting.
“Another priority for me is to get Ethiopian-born players and those with Ethiopian descent, who ply their trade in Europe and America, involved in the national team.”
Jira has been a football club administrator for more than two decades and will focus on development and organization.
“I want to transform the way football and clubs are organized plus we will come up with a sound 8 years strategic plan to develop the football,” he told BBC Sport.
“I’d also like to work more on capacity building for local coaches as they are the key to success.”
Assefaw is an accomplished lawyer and a former EFF vice-president has promised to work on the organization of the federation.
“I want to work on improving the organizational structure of EFF as well as make the way jobs are done transparent and accountable.
“I will try to force a good way of collective leadership and strengthen EFF’s financial capacity.”
Melashen, who seems to be an outsider for the race, says identifying the root-cause of the issues affecting Ethiopian football would be his top priority.
“We should stop and think why the system being implemented is letting us down,” he told BBC Sport.
“I want to come up with problem solving solutions after identifying the major problems.
“Without a profound knowledge of the problems, we can’t expect to act at the EFF.”
One of the first tasks for the next president will be to employ a new national team coach after Ashenafi Bekele left recently by mutual consent.
Ethiopia’s next competitive game will be a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier when they host Sierra Leone in September.
The Waliya Antelopes, who last qualified for the Nations Cup in 2013, lost their opening 2019 qualifier 5-0 to Ghana.
Kenya are the other team in Group F with the top two progressing to the finals in Cameroon.
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