by Daniel Eslick
ETHIOPIA vs SOUTH AFRICA
June 16, 2013 5:00 PM EAT
Butako, Hailu, Tesfaye, Elyas
Teshome, Megersa, Hintsa
Said, Kebede, Bekele
South Africa: Khune
Ngcgongca, Nthethe, Mathoho, Langerman
Phala, Furman, Letsholonyane, Tshabalala
South Africa face a stern test of their credentials on Sunday afternoon, when they lock horns with Ethiopia in Addis Ababa for a crucial 2014 World Cup qualifier.
After a positive 3-0 result in Cameroon last weekend Gordon Igesund’s charges will have to muster all their spirit to dismantle an Ethiopian side which is unbeaten in its last ten home matches. Playing at 2400 metres above sea level, the South African side will target a win against the Walla Antelopes in order to overtake them on top of Group A.
The unbeaten sides meet in the most vital clash of their qualifying campaign, as Ethiopia sit merely two points above South Africa. Ethiopia hold all the cards playing at home, as South Africa will face hostile conditions and a team which comprises largely local players who are used to the difficult conditions.
South Africa is waiting on the fitness of Ricardo Nunes who sat out of training on Thursday, but Gordon Igesund has stated that his exclusion was mroe of a precautionary measure. However, Mamelodi Sundowns full-back Tebogo Langerman will replace Nunes if he is deemed unfit.
The South African coach has hinted that he will use pace to overcome Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, with Thuso Phala a likely starter on the right-wing.
Ethiopian striker Saladin Said is set to start the match and poses the greatest threat for South Africa. Said scored against Bafana Bafana in the team’s last encounter.
DID YOU KNOW?
- The reverse fixture ended in a 1-1 draw last year, with Katlego Mphela scoring a 78th minute equaliser after Saladhin Said put Ethiopia ahead through an early goal.
- Said and Getaneh Kebede have formed a deadly partnership for the Ethiopians, with both strikers scoring four goals during the qualification campaign.
- South Africa have netted 7 goals in qualification with Bernard Parker leading the goalscoring list with two strikes.
- Ethiopia will qualify for the next round if they are able to win on Sunday, while a draw will mean they will have to win against CAR in Bangui.
- South Africa can go one point clear of Ethiopia with a win on Sunday and will then face Botswana in their next match.