Ethiopia’s Said to shock Eagles, Zambia
Belgian coach Walter Meeuws has warned Nigeria and Zambia his former player and Ethiopia star Saladin Said could shock them at the AFCON.
The 24-year-old striker from Egyptian club Wadi Degla is Ethiopia’s top scorer this year with three goals in six qualifying matches including a goal in a 1-1 away draw against Bafana Bafana of South Africa in a 2014 World Cup qualifier.
Meeuws told MTNFootball.com that Said could be one of the surprises in South Africa in January.
“If the team play strong, Saladin Said has the skills to decide games for Ethiopia,Ã¢â‚¬Â the former Wadi Degla coach said.
“Saladin could become one of the surprises of the Nations Cup in January.
“That depends of course also on the performance of the Ethiopian team because they are in a strong group with Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Zambia.”
The Eagles have already seen what a force Said could be as he scored his teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s two goals in a 2012 Nations Cup qualifier in Addis Ababa before star-studded Nigeria fought back to draw 2-2.
Said scored one goal in Ethiopia’s 2-0 home win over Sudan in the final leg qualifier to help clinch the 1962 champions place atÃ‚Â the South AfricaÃ‚Â finals on away goals rule after a 5-5 aggregate result.
“He (Said) made a trial at Wadi Degla club in August 2011 and he gave a very good impression from the first moment,” said former Belgium international Meeuws.
“I advised the club to take him and that resulted in a contract of three years.
“Said is a veryÃ‚Â skilfulÃ‚Â player, technically strong, good speed and a good positioning as striker.
“He reads very well the game and the last year he became stronger in both power and physical strength.”
Ethiopia, who return to the Nations Cup for the first time since 1982, open their account in Group C against African champions Zambia on January 21 in Nelspruit.