CHAN 2016: Ethiopia face battle to make quarters
(EBC, 25 January 2016) - Ethiopia's Walia Ibex have set their sights on the 2016 African Nations Champion quarterfinals when they clash with Angola's Palanca Negras in their final Group B match in Kigali on Monday afternoon.
It is expected to be a tough battle for Ethiopia who lost their opener 3-0 to DR Congo before gathering courage to hold favourites Cameroon 0-0 in the second match played at Huye Stadium in Butare.
The result leaves the East Africans placed third in Group B with just one point.
Their hopes of advancing to the quarterfinals remain alive, but their fate is not in their own hands.
In order to qualify, Ethiopia must beat Angola and they need DRC to beat Cameroon as well - this combination of results would leave the Walia Ibex and Indomitable Lions tied for second place on four points each.
The head-to-head record between the teams is irrelevant because they drew 0-0, meaning it would come down to goal difference to separate the teams. As it stands, Cameroon's goal difference is +1, while Ethiopia's is -3.
"We clearly know we have a very tough game against Angola who come into the game as favourites but it is a game of football as we will fight tooth and nail until the last minute. Even though the match is laced with a lot of mathematical implications we are ready for the task ahead in the do or die game," Ethiopia coach Yohannes Sahle told supersport.com.
"I have urged my players to be focused throughout the game as we cannot afford to lose concentration. Our biggest impediment has been scoring the important goals but we hope it will be a totally different ball game when we play Angola who are equally under intense pressure to perform just like we are."
On the other hand, Angola head coach Jose Antonio Kilamba has admitted his side were not strong enough after they suffered a 2-4 defeat in the hands of DR Congo at the 2016 Chan on Thursday.
He acknowledged that it was not their best tournament after they became the first side to be eliminated from Chan.
"It has been tough for us in our last two matches and when facing Ethiopia we would like to go back home with dignity. That is why it will not be a walk in the park as we will take the game to them to the last whistle. It's been a disappointing campaign for us but hopefully we will get results against Ethiopia who are equally under pressure," Kilamba told supersport.com.
As for Angola, they have been eliminated from quarterfinal contention after losing to Cameroon (0-1) and DRC (2-4) in their first two matches.
They only have pride to play for, but a win would at least see them avoid the wooden spoon and leapfrog Ethiopia into third.