Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – The renowned reggae icon Bob Marley loved playing soccer so much that once asked what the game means to him, he simply replied “freedom”. It seems to be true for most of Ethiopian kids who play the game in shabby corners all over the country.

Many children acquire the special skill of making balls using old socks and cast-off plastic at a very young age. The limited space and freedom that children have, they spend playing soccer (famously known as football in Ethiopia); and it seems to be their only comfort zone. The story was no different for the former soccer player, Asseged Tesfaye. The precious childhood memories of his hometown, Dire Dawa, especially of his school, seem to revolve around the game.

Unlike most of his childhood friends, Asseged persisted to become a professional footballer in the national league. And his biggest icebreaker came when he joined the Coca Cola football club in 1984.

This instance opened the door for Asseged to be recruited by the famous St George FC and have a successful five-year-long football career. After that he played for Medhin FC (a club owned by Ethiopian Insurance Corporation) for five years and finally he played for Ethiopian Coffee FC for six years. Even if it is 11 years since he stopped playing football professionally, the passion is still there, he says. Together with his export business, he still makes time for his football practices twice a week (Tuesday and Thursday). But Asseged is not ready to leave the professional football scene for good; rather he plans to open a training academy for youngsters and help those with a dream to make it as a footballer.  Read More