TraoreBy Elshadai Negash

After a dream drawing start against Zambia, Nations Cup minnows come tumbling down to reality with a comprehensive 4-0 defeat to an impressive Burkina Faso side boasting many players who ply their trade in top divisions in Europe. The best of them, Alain Traore, showed why he is one of the continent’s most coveted striker with an impressive double to take his AFCON 2013 tally to three goals in two games. Djakaridja Kone and Jonathan Pitroipa added more glamour to the score line with two goals in the last eleven minutes.

It could all have been different for the Ethiopians who began the game brightly with Shimelles Bekele evading Coulibaly in the Burkina Faso to connect with Saladdin Said’s through ball, but his effort bounced back off the post instead of going. The near miss set of a trail of unfortunate events for the Walyas who lost vice captain Adane Girma, scorer of their only goal of the Nations Cup goal, and fellow midfielder Asrat Megersa to injuries. It set the perfect back drop before striking supremo Traore got his moment in the limelight.

First, he got behind Aynalem Hailu in the Ethiopian defense to release a thumping strike which gave Seyoum Tadelle in goal no chance. Then, he staked his claim for goal of the tournament with a super strike just past the halfway point in the second half to effectively end an unlikely Ethiopian comeback which had received hope after Burkina Faso goalkeeper Soulama was sent off after gathering an innocuous lob outside his area.

But unlike their performance on Monday that inspired neutrals with energy, precise passing, and an improved tactical discipline, their performance for the rest of the half was spineless and in no way reflective of their one-man advantage. Instead, it was the Burkinabes who poured forward in search of the all-important third goal that killed the match as a contest. Their high energy passing and successive forays into the Ethiopian goal finally cracked the Walyas with Kone getting behind captain Degu Debebe to slot in the third in the 79min. Pitriopa added a fourth to give Burkina Faso the biggest win of the Nations Cup so far.

Ethiopia now play their final game against Nigeria in Rustenburg on Tuesday knowing that they need victory against the Super Eagles to stand any chance of progressing past the first round. But victory against Nigeria could well be immaterial as they could even be eliminated with a Zambian victory in the other Group C match against Burkina Faso as the Burkina Faso have a superior head-to-head record against the Walyas.

The bad news does not just end there for the Walyas who could be facing further sanctions from CAF following one of their spectators’ foray into the pitch during the game. Ethiopia were fined USD 10,000 by the African football governing body after their fans threw bottles and vuvuzelas during their match against Zambia on Monday with USD 5,000 of that punishment rescinded should their fans keep proper behaviour in the group matches. With the latest outburst, the CAF disciplinary board could now ban Ethiopian fans from the final group game in Rustenburg and impose a further cash punishment. Walyas’ fans will also be eagerly awaiting news of the injury situation of Adane Girma and Asrat Megersa.

Source: Elshadai’s FaceBook page.