Addis Ababa – Ethiopia Walia Ibex will play Niger in a warm up friendly here on Saturday in preparation for Chan 2016 to be hosted by Rwanda from January 16 to February 7.
Walia Ibex coach Yohannes Sahle intimated that he was happy the friendly will play an important role to know the strengths and weaknesses of his side ahead of the the competiion that he has referred to as do or die.
“Our friendly against Niger is very important for me as I will be able to take a close look at the 23 players i have selected for Chan.Niger are a formidable side with pedigree and I believe we have a very good chance to tie the loose areas after closing monitoring the friendlies.”
Sahle however moaned the loss of key players ruled out by injury but added that the ones that are in the team will have to fill their shoes.
“We will miss the services of keeper Tarik Getnet, defender Salhadin Bergecho and Moges Tadesse who have all been ruled out of the team through injury but we have to move on an give other players a chance to prove themselves,” Sahle added.
Sahle included eight players who featured in the 2015 Cecafa Senior challenge cup hosted by Ethiopia mixing youth and experience.
Sahle recalled influential midfielder Asrat Mergasa, Behailu Assefa and Alula Girma the trio were influential in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup 2014 playoffs, 2014 Chan and they will be expected to play a key role since they are more conversant with the big stage.
“I decided to mix both youth and experience in the team for Chan and am optimistic the blend will work sufficiently. My entire defence is composed of young players who played in the 2015 Cecafa while I have added more impetus in the midfield and striking departments,” Sahle told supersport,com.
Ethiopia are expected to arrive in Rwanda on the January 13.