Unlike Ethiopia’s greatness and excellence in the world athletics, its football remains lame and incompetent in the global platform. The fact being so, the Ethiopian football fan has always had a warm heart and enthusiasm and longs to celebrate the victory and rise of Ethiopia in the international football. This keen and energetic fan, however, couldn’t find triumph and success worth celebrating except disappointing and heartbreaking failures. And they are not few who have already despaired over any possible progress.
Nevertheless, what happened on Oct. 14 Sunday afternoon at the Addis Ababa stadium in the African Cup of Nations final qualifying match between Ethiopia and Sudan, was totally different and historical. The Ethiopian team required two clean goals so as to qualify for the next African Cup of Nations.
With a raised spirit ushered in by the women’s national team that already qualified for African cup of Nations and the victory of the youth team over Tunisia by 3 to 0 the day before, everyone has been eagerly counting down to the math time to the extent of staying wake around the stadium since the previous midnight to secure entrance ticket.
The match started in a stadium filled with colorful singing audience energetic than ever. However, the 45 minutes of the first half of the match began to pass by without any notable goal or attractive play from the Ethiopian team. Everyone’s heart at home and the stadium has been pounding more and more; frustration and anxiety filled the air of the nation. The stadium eventually got cold and silent until the first half ended. The second half was totally different. The Ethiopian team started to reign over the field with a renewed power and motivation. They started to make hopeful scoring trials and attack. In the mean while, Adane Girma suddenly got the ball in the air with a strong heading in the goal net. His icebreaking goal loosened the tension and took away the fear and frustration to throw everyone in to a hot frenzy and cheer. The nation shouted. Only one goal remained to change history, Ethiopia’s alienation from African Cup of Nations for 31 years. It wasn’t long to celebrate this total victory and be mad over it. The renowned Salladin Seid scored the second goal and brought the nation and the fan to a state of complete euphoria and madness of delight over a very sweet victory.
The match ended and Addis glow with cry of shouts, continuous car horns, dancing crowd. . . a united festivity filled the street adorned by the Ethiopian flag. Everyone sang Jah-Lude’s popular song of victory, “Yergib Amora.” Moments of inspiration, nationalism and triumph.