Wolaitta Dicha beat favourites and record Ethiopian Cup winners, Defence Force, 4-2 on penalties on Thursday in Addis Ababa to lift their first ever Ethiopian Cup.
The Southern Ethiopian outfit, wrapped up the title on penalties after a 1-1 draw in regulation time, to become the second club from the Sodo township to win the Ethiopian version of the FA Cup, after Wolaitta Tusa in 1997.
Wolaitta Dicha, who will represent Ethiopia in next year’s Total CAF Confederation Cup, started off on a bright note and dominated the early exchanges.
The soggy nature of the Addis Ababa Stadium pitch albeit made things harder for both sides with long passes being the only resort to possession. Dicha almost opened the scoring on nine minutes after striker Bezabeh Meleyo’s low drive sailed wide of the post.
Four minutes later, another opportunity fell to Dicha again, and Anagawe Badege couldn’t keep his header on target.
Defence went ahead against all odds and an own goal from hard pressed Mubarak Shekuri in the 21st minute was what they needed.
Upon resumption, Dicha continued to pile pressure and were awarded a penalty after Defence shot stopper, Yidnekachew Kidane, brought down Badege in the 53rd minute. Captain Alazar Fasika elected himself for the spot kick and made no mistake to pull his side level on 55 minutes.
After the equalizer, Dicha pushed to get the winner while Defence held on forcing the game into penalties.
During penalties, Defence defender Awol Abdela and goalie Kidane spurred their kicks whilst Kidane manage to save Badege’s penalty. Second half substitute, goalkeeper Wendsen Geremew brilliantly struck the decisive kick as Dicha cruised to the title for the first time.
Dicha was established eight years ago, 2009. Under coach Mesay Teferi, a former footballer, they earned multiple promotions and gained premier league status in 2013.
The Sodo-based club narrowly avoided relegation from the Ethiopian Premier League during the just ended season (2016/17 season) that saw Jimma Aba Coffee, Commercial Bank of Ethiopia and Addis Ababa City demoted to the second tier.
Minyamer Tsegaye (Assistant Coach, Defence Force)
The game was good. The playing pitch couldn’t allow us to play our usual style of play and we couldn’t make many passes. We didn’t think we would lose the cup given our performance throughout the competition. We even went ahead and squandered some good chances that could have sealed the win. It is football, so we accept the result.
Mesaye Teferi (Head Coach, Wolaitta Dicha)
Since it was a Cup final, we knew penalty shootouts could happen so we worked on that. Defense knocked out league champions Saint George and we also beat Ethio-Electric on penalties. Both sides had opportunities to score more goals but the efforts were futile. It is a tremendous achievement to replicate what Wolaitta Tusa achieved 20 years ago. We are happy that we won the competition.