Ethiopia has set sights on becoming one of the two African representatives for the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup when they face Ghana in the second leg of the final round qualifier on Sunday in Kumasi.
The first leg in Addis Ababa a fortnight ago ended 2-2 and Ethiopia coach, Asrat Abate reckons his side has all the necessary weapons to triumph over Ghana’s Black Princesses, which has qualified for every edition of the global championship since 2010, when the two sides lock horns in Ghana’s second biggest city, Kumasi.
“After the first leg, we have prepared well for the return encounter. We have had enough time to rectify some of our mistakes from the first leg, and I’m certain that those mistakes won’t be repeated. It has been tough to play 3 continental games in 13 days. Nonetheless, the players have shown they are robust for the test,” said Abate.
“The Ghana team is comprised of experienced players. We are a bit inexperienced but that doesn’t mean we are going to be a walkover. The players are so eager to win the game away from home. This side has a better record compared to their predecessors and we want to make history by beating Ghana to serve an inspiration to women’s football in Ethiopia.”
Striker Loza Abera, whose six goals have fuelled the Ethiopians journey in the qualifiers, is hoping to add to her tally against their hosts and aid their historic qualification.
“Our preparation has been good and we have improved on our weak points. Albeit, I have scored all of Ethiopia’s goals in the campaign, the result we have achieved thus far has been due to the collective effort of the team. I hope to score in Kumasi and steer the team to victory and qualification,” said the young striker.
Ethiopia has yet to qualify for a global women’s football tournament and Abera and her colleagues are hoping to write their own piece of history this time.
The winner of the tie will qualify for the final tournament in Papua New Guinea next year.
South Africa will host Nigeria in the other qualifier also on Sunday in Tembisa, near Johannesburg. The Nigerians have a 2-1 advantage from the first leg.
The West Africans have an enviable record of being the only African side to have participated at every edition of the biennial competition since the maiden edition in 2002 in Canada. They were also losing finalists in 2010 and 2014, losing to Germany on both occasions.
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