Coach Bekele fears Ethiopian firepower running low
Ethiopia head coach Ashenafi Bekele has expressed concerns over player fitness ahead of Thursday’s Cecafa Senior Challenge clash against Burundi at the Kakamega Bukhungu Stadium.
The Walya Antelopes opened their Cup campaign with a 3-0 victory over South Sudan on Tuesday but Bekele fears his charges have yet to recover full fitness to sustain the momentum against Burundi.
The tactician who was appointed coach of the national team this early this year admitted he might be forced to rest some of his first team players against the Les Rondelles.
“Our Players could only rest for a day before tackling Burundi, and I feel it could prove costly.
“The players we used during the South Sudan game were good and talented players, the first team squad. It will be very tough to use some of them who are yet recover while some are also injured,” Bekele said after the team’s training on Wednesday.
Bekele acknowledged his side would ease significant pressure off their backs by claiming a second successive win ahead of their encounter with champions Uganda who are viewed as the tournament favourites.
“These things worry me but I will have a discussion with the rest of my technical bench see how we balance the squad. There is a saying that goes ‘never change a winning team’ but as I said we will talk through it and see what happens,” Bekele underscored.
Striker Abdoul Fiston Razak proved a handful for Ugandan defenders as Burundi held the champions to a barren draw but Bekele refused to disclose whether he will pay specific attention to the former Sofapaka FC player.
“I can’t narrow down to one player as the only threat ahead of the match. You never know who strikes when, football is a game of 11 against 11,” he said.
Bekele said Ethiopian fans are still reeling from their 2018 African Nations Championship (Chan) heartache where they lost to Rwanda in the play-offs and is desperate to cool it off with an impressive run in Cecafa.
“How we perform here matters a lot,” he averred.
*The match kicks off at 3:00pm (EAT).