Hosts Ethiopia will be seeking to do the double over Madagascar in a Nations Cup Group B qualifier Saturday in Addis Ababa.
The Ethiopians recorded their only victory thus far in the series when they defeated the Indian Ocean Islanders 1-0 a year ago in Antananarivo.
Both teams are out of the reckoning for next year’s Africa Nations Cup, but the Belgian coach of Ethiopia, Tom Saintfiet, could now get his first win in charge this weekend.
Ethiopia have four points from five matches, while Madagascar are bottom of Group B with a point courtesy of the draw at home with Guinea.
However, the outcome of this match could well impact on the eventual winners from Group B.
Saintfiet has worked wonders with Ethiopia since he replaced Nigerian-born Iffy Onoura only weeks to the return leg match against Nigeria in Ethiopia.
His team were only minutes away from recording a famous victory over the star-studded Nigerians, before the Eagles fought back to grab a 2-2 draw.
Ethiopia then posted a credible showing in their 1-0 loss away to group leaders Guinea in September.
“Ethiopia is a football country with a strong league that is professional with passionate supporters. They have foreign players and foreign coaches and enormous potentials,” Saintfiet remarked.
“There is no chance of our making the 2012 finals, but why not the 2013 finals?”
Saintfiet’s contract will run out this month, but the former Namibia coach is hopeful he would have done enough to bag a long-term deal with Ethiopia.
He has praised the huge potentials he has seen in Ethiopia and he said that he believes he could change the fortunes of the team if he is now given enough time to work.
Madagascar will again bank on their Olympic team, who did well to hold out against Nigeria in the first half in Antananarivo before they let in two goals after the break.
They are rebuilding after a poor run at a recent international tournament.