The Ethiopian U-17 national team is to be rewarded a place in the 2017 Total African U-17 Nations Cup which is due in Gabon on March, following FIFA’s expulsion of Mali from international football back in May.
FIFA expelled the West African nation a day after the CAF General Assembly took in Addis Ababa on March 16 citing government interference on football. Mali has been suspended from international football after the country’s Sports Minister sacked the executive committee of its football federation. Mali hammered Ethiopia 4-1 on aggregate to book a place in the U-17 Nations Cup; however with expulsion from international football the Red Foxes have now got an opportunity to play in the tourney comes May.
The Ethiopian Football Federation executive committee has reviewed a request from CAF on Wednesday and decided to participate in the biennial youth championship. The team will be led by coach Atnafu Alemu as they enter residential camp on Monday either in Adama or Hawassa, Soccer Ethiopia learnt. Coach Atnafu is expected to include some new faces to the squad.
Red Foxes are now in group B alongside Tanzania, Angola and Niger whilst Group A consists of hosts Gabon, Guinea, Cameroon and Ghana. They will kick off their U-17 Nations Cup outing against Tanzania on May 15 in Port-Gentil. Ethiopia will tackle Niger for the second game on May 18 as they faceoff Angola in the last group B tie.
The tournament was originally set to take place in Madagascar. Nonetheless, CAF decided to withdraw the hosting rights from Island nation following the CAF inspection committee bid Madagascar is unfit and not ready to host the championship.
Ethiopia last played in the tourney back in 1997 in Botswana.