The Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) Ã‚Â has finally given out the prize money it had promised to the players for qualifying to AFCON 2013. It was reported that the players had recently been on strike and stopped training inÃ‚Â protest, but continued training on schedule after the federation agreed to hand out the money in a weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s time. The EFF admitted to the delay and acknowledged that the playersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ question was fair and said that it was due to financial constraints that they couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t grant the money earlier. The federation stated that they were planning to give the incentive at the send-off ceremony before the team leaves for South Africa.
EFF recently signed a sponsorship contract worth 24 million birr with Bedele Beer, and as a precondition Bedele was required to deposit 6 million birr into the federations account. Thus they were able to secure the fund required for the reward.
The ceremony, which was held on Tuesday December 25thÃ‚Â at the Addis Intercontinental, saw the players receiving the reward in a hierarchy of three orders. The players who actively participated in the qualifying stages were handed 100,000 birr each. Others who played in the majority of the WaliyasÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ games took home a sum of 80,000. The rest of the team, including players who were on the bench for the entire qualifying campaign received 50,000. In addition, the players were awarded an extra 10,000 for each goal they scored. A total of 27 players were beneficiaries of the prize money.
Adane Girma was the highest paid player with 100,000 plus 30,000 for the three goals he scored. Getaneh Kebede and Seyoum Tesfaye each got 110,000. Star striker Saladin Said, who was in the 2ndÃ‚Â set, received 80,000 and an extra 10,000 for that vital second goal against Sudan that secured Ethiopia a spot at the AFCON 2013.
The players requested the federation to arrange a mechanism for them to be given the opportunity to get condominium houses without going through the lottery draw. The federation agreedÃ‚Â to held talks withÃ‚Â the Addis Ababa Housing Development Project Office but did not make any promises.
The coaching staff, the medical team and the team leaders all took their share of the prize money, but the highlight of the evening were the car keys that were given to head coach Sewnet Bishaw. The federation gave Coach Sewnet a Lifan 520 Executive worth 280,000 birr. Sewnet, who is known for long walks and using mini-buses, said that even though he owns a brand new Lifan now, he would probably not use it due to health reasons; he will not give up the long walks that he is known for. Assistant coach Seyoum Kebede was given a sum of 150,000 birr. The renowned team masseur (Ã¢â‚¬Å“wogeshaÃ¢â‚¬Â) Yisak Shiferaw collected a 100,000 birr.
The federation declared that the total cost of the ceremony was around 2.9 million birr. They also announced that if the team makes a good showing at the tournament, they are prepared to give a large sum to the players, or in their own words “unlike anything seen before in the Ethiopian football history.”
Even though the federation has now given its share of the money it had pledged, several other incentives including the 5 million birr promised by Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi are yet to be given.