The international break is in its second week and not only in Europe try the various national teams to qualify for their continental tournaments. This week started the qualification for the African Cup 2021.
In Group K, Ethiopia and the Ivory Coast meet on Tuesday for lunch. While the Walyas, as the Ethiopian national football team is called, had hardly any appearances in this international match, the elephants from West Africa were in this year’s African Cup of the party.
The opening game of the current qualification against Madagascar lost the hosts. In contrast, the Ivorian national team could win 1-0 against Niger. With another defeat of Ethiopia, the country was able to lose the connection to the Ivory Coast early on.
The starting positions are clearly distributed. Due to the low individual quality in the squad and the moderate performances this year, Ethiopia is the clear outsider next Tuesday.
Most likely, the bookmakers seem to win away. Nevertheless, in such qualifiers a surprise is always possible.
The Ethiopian national team is an unknown team for most European football fans. This is derived from the fact that all players play either in the domestic league or in the Egyptian Premier League.
Only three games contested the Ethiopians in this international year. In the first round of the African qualifier for the World Cup 2022, the hosts had to play against Lesotho.
Without victory, the Walyas managed to move into the next round. After a scoreless draw at home, the ibexs handed a 1-1 in Lesotho for the second round.
The Ethiopian national team is currently in the midst of qualifying for the Africa Cup in 2021. In Group K, Abraham Mebratu’s team must face Ivory Coast, Madagascar and Niger.
The opening game against the Malagasy national team lost the ibex 1-0. Compared to the games against Lesotho Mebratu renounced to build up his team in 4-3-3, and instead put on a 4-2-3-1.
In the international match of 2019 only one ball found its way into the opponent’s goal from the point of view of the Ethiopians. It is significant that this hit was Lesotho’s own goal. Shimelis Bekele is not only the playmaker, but also the captain of his home country.
However, the 29-year-old midfielder is in a form low. For his club El Makasa the captain has not played a single game this season and for the Ethiopian national team he met last in 2015. Bekele is still the most valuable player in the squad of hosts.
Two goals in three games are this year’s record of the Ethiopians. Jemal Tassew guarded the home side’s box against Lesotho. However, the 32-year-old goalkeeper is currently no longer in the squad of his home country. That’s why Abel Mamo got the chance to play again from the beginning after almost a year.
Furthermore, Gatoch Panom should be emphasized. The 25-year-old defensive midfielder has been the undisputed star player since 2015 and has since missed only one game for the national team. Panom moved to the Egyptian club Harras Hodoud in the summer and played there two of four games. Currently there are no known injuries in the cadre of Ethiopia.
Unlike the Ethiopian national team, not a single player plays in the squad of Ivory Coast in the domestic league. Only six of the 22 professionals earn their money outside of Europe. Furthermore, the West Africans played significantly more games than their opponent.
In the Africa Cup 2019, Ibrahima Kamara’s team even made it to the quarter-finals. There, the elephants retired against eventual winner Algeria on penalties.
Côte d’Ivoire is currently celebrating a three-game winning streak. Over the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tunisia, the guests won friendly friendly matches and also the opening match of qualifying for the African Cup in 2021 against Niger they decided with 1: 0 for themselves.
Tactically, Ibrahima Kamara changed his game system during the summer. From the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup, the coach changed from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-3-3 and has been there ever since.
The offensive of the guests need not hide. In five games, the Ivorian national team shot at the Africa Cup in 2019 seven goals in the regular season. Only one of these games ended the elephants without hitting themselves.
In this tournament, Jonathan Kodjia and Wilfried Zaha were the top scorers in their home country with two goals each. Both players are not in the current squad of Ivory Coast.
Therefore, the hopes are on Nicolas Pépé. The 24-year-old Arsenal London legionnaire is the most valuable player in the squad in his home country. However, the Pépé is not in its best shape yet. For his club he played 15 games and scored three goals.
The goal against Niger scored Franck Kessié for the Ivory Coast. The central midfielder of AC Milan counts despite his young age of 22 for three years to the absolute permanent staff of his home country. This offensive encourages the game between Ethiopia and Côte d’Ivoire to predict a victory for the visitors.
The defensive score also made a good job in the continental comparison this season. In the African Cup last summer, the guests received in five games conceded three goals in the regular season.
Sylvain Gbohouo is the number one in the Ivory Coast. The 31-year-old goalkeeper plays for TP Mazembe in the highest league of the Congo. Also noteworthy is the captain of the elephant.
Serge Aurier is an all-rounder in the field. At his club Tottenham he stood this season nine times on the court and was able to present his teammates two goals. Currently no injuries are known on the part of the Ivorian national team.