Soccer Ethiopia’s Team of the Month – December

The 2017/18 Ethiopian Premier League season kicked off in early November 2018. During December and early January 2018 five rounds of league fixtures were played across the country as Dedebit tops the log table with 22 points after winning five games in a row.

Formation 4-2-3-1

Goalkeeper – Clement Azonto (Dedebit)

The Ghanaian custodian Clement Azonto is having his second year stint in Ethiopia with the Blues. Azonto started almost all league games for Dedebit as he produced some fine saves to keep the Blue’s winning streak intact.  Although, Dedebit won the all of their five league duels during the last month, in the last three rounds Dedebit notched a hard fought win. His goalkeeping prowess were demonstrated when Dedebit beat a dominant Ethiopia Bunna side on week 9 encounter. Azonto brilliantly denied Asechalew Girma and Elias Mamo.

Other notable mentions: Robert Odongkara (Kidus Giorgis), Mikael Samaki (Fasil Ketema)        



Asechalew Tamene (Kidus Giorgis)

The 2016/17 premier league MVP started off the campaign in a low through injury. Nonetheless, he has returned to the starting lineup of Kidus Giorgis and managed to amass more appearances during the month. His presence helped the Horsemen not to concede a single goal during the month. Even when other center backs failed to make an impact, he stepped up to make sure his side got the result that sought to achieve.

Kadir Coulibaly (Dedebit)

The Ivorian defensive midfielder turned center back persisted on his astounding form in December too. Kadir Coulibaly has managed to be included in the Team of the Month – November edition as his commended performance in the league earned him yet again a place in our team of the month. The no nonsense defender a key player for the Blues recent success in the topflight as his game reading and prevailing in one on one duel is on point. Though his over aggressiveness and disciplinary records are questionable, Coulibaly indeed had a perfect December.

Desta Demu (Dedebit)

League leaders Dedebit has a squad depth challenge as when some players are injured the team oftentimes came short off getting a good replacement. Ghanaian defender Kweku Andoh’s injury gave Desta Demu a starting berth in Nigusse Desta’s side. Desta, who happened to be usually deployed as a right back, formed a formidable partnership with Kadir Coulibaly. Desta’s incredible performance even made the first choice Andoh to be a benchwarmer.

Abebaw Butako (Kidus Giorgis)

The veteran defender Abeb0aw Butako made our team of the month as a left back. Abebaw captained the Ethiopian national team during the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup but his return to the Kidus Giorgis side was on the right team. Dangerous on long balls and perfect free kick executions are attributes of Abebaw whilst over lapping on the left flank is still his weak link. He struck a brace against Jimma Aba Jifar on week 10 encounter.

Other notable mentions: Kedir Heyeredin (Fasil Ketema), Megnote Debebe (Adama Ketema), Solomon Habte (Dedebit)


Mulualem Mesfin (Kidus Giorgis)

Comparably, Mulualem Mesfin had a good month though his form declined since joining the record Ethiopian champions. No other defensive midfielder in the league stood out this month as we were forced to pick the former ArbaMinch Ketema and Sidama Bunna man. Kidus Giorgis kept clean sheet in the last five consecutive games as they boost a good defensive minded players and strong backline. Mulualem had a share in Kidus Giorgis’s strong backline.

Yehun Endeshaw (Jimma Aba Jifar)

Jimma Aba Jifar resurgence in December was amazing. One of the main reasons why the Western Ethiopia side bettered is Yehun Endeshaw’s good form. The ex-Dire Dawa Ketema midfielder together with Aminu Nesseru formed a good partnership at the middle of the park. His presence gave Henok Esayas and Yonas Geremew a much needed time and space to focus on offensive play. Yehun has also exceled in keeping Aba Jifar’s defensive and offensive balance.

Addis Gidey (Sidama Bunna)      

After losing some regular starters during the summer window the Yirgalem based club failed to cope up with the major squad shakeup. It’s crystal clear that Sidama Bunna are struggling comparing them with the last season’s outing. The only positive thing in this Sidama side is Addis Gidey. The Ethiopian international continued to be dangerous on wings. His cut backs, chance creating and goal scoring prowess are still with him. He struck a last gasp lone goal when Sidama emerged victories in a derby game against Hawassa Ketema.

Kalusha Alhassan (Ethio-Electric)

The Ghanaian midfielder made team of the month for a second successive time. Kalusha Alhassan is a joint top scorer on the current Ethiopian premier league with Getaneh Kebede. His employers Ethio-Electric are still in relegation zone yet again but Alhassan kept on scoring goal. His ability to defend is second to none but what makes him very unique is that his movements to make himself available inside the area. He has bagged seven goals thus far and this is impressive considering he is a midfielder which having his maiden season in Ethiopia.

Abel Yalew (Dedebit)

The young striker is having the time of his life. From making a national team call up to bagging his first league hattrick Abel Yalew was on fire in December. His blistering pace and goal conversion rate puts him to be the wonder kid of the league during the month. He is also clever in creating space for his teammates. His performance was a thorn in flesh for most defenders. In December alone he scored five league goals for leaders Dedebit.

Other Notable Mentions: Henok Esayas (Jimma Aba Jifar), Yonas Geremew (Jimma Aba Jifar), Abubakher Sanni (Kidus Giorgis), Ermias Hailu (Fasil Ketema), Yasser Mugerwa (Fasil Ketema), Yeabsera Tesfaye (Dedebit), Abel Endale (Dedebit)


Getaneh Kebede (Dedebit)

In December many of the forwards in the league had a quite a magnificent outing. Among them is Getaneh Kebede, the 2016/17 season top goal king award winner. Getaneh is a complete striker of his generation. He can score goals from a tight angle and very lethal inside the area. He has proved that over the years he has spent his career with Dedebit. He bagged six goals in five games during December including a brace against ArbaMinch Ketema and crucial first half curling effort against Ethiopia Bunna in an anticipated week 9 tie. Apart from scoring goals Getaneh has been involved on assists.

Other Notable Mentions: Dawa Hotessa (Adama Ketema), Minyelu Wendemu (Mekelakeya), Okikiola Afolabi (Jimma Aba Jifar)


Player of the Month: Getaneh Kebede (Dedebit)


Coach of the Month: Nigusse Desta (Dedebit)

Nigusse Desta’s charges are leading the premier league after collecting 22 points after 10 rounds. Coach Nigusse left Woldia SC at the end of last season to join his former employers. He took over a team that had had a problematic year due to changes in technical staff and lack of squad depth. In November, Dedebit could only win one game out of the first five weeks. Nonetheless, in December the Blues won five games in a row and struck 13 goals. Nigusse did a commendable job in giving opportunity for the young players like Abel Yalew, Alemante Kassa, Abel Endale and Yeabsera Tesfaye. Those four have now become integral parts of the Blues. Even when Dedebit is outplayed in possession and goal attempts, Nigusse guided them to collect maximum points. The game against Ethiopia Bunna is a best example for that. Consistency remains a big question but coach Nigusse and Dedebit are on a good ride.


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