Ethiopia Name 23, Nigeria Held

EthiopiaNigeria were last night held to a 1-all draw by Catalunya in Spain as they prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations where they will have to overcome African champions Zambia in Group C to have realistic chances of winning the title.

The Nigerians and Zambia are in the same group with Ethiopia and Burkina Faso completing the four teams.

On the night Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi was guiding his team to a draw, Ethiopia coach Sewnet Bishaw named the final 23 for the competition.

According to the BBC Sport, Bishaw included Swedish-born midfielder Yusuf Salah, 28, in his final squad for this month’s Africa Cup of Nations.

Salah, on loan with Swedish top-flight side Syrianska, is one of three foreign-based players in the squad.

Saladin Said, who plays for Egypt’s Wadi Degla, and United States-based winger Fuad Ibrahim are also included.

Said is set to be Ethiopia’s danger man, having scored key goals in Nations Cup and World Cup qualifiers last year.

Meanwhile, Salah forced his way into the squad after being trialled at November’s East and Central African Cecafa Challenge Cup.

Bishaw’s 23-man selection is mainly composed of players from two clubs in Ethiopia: with nine coming from 2012 champions Saint George and eight from league runners-up Dedebit.

Ethiopia qualified for the Nations Cup after going through on away goals following their 5-5 aggregate draw with East African rivals Sudan.

A founder member of the Confederation of African Football, Ethiopia contested the very first Nations Cup in 1957, won the tournament in 1962 but had failed to qualify for the finals since 1982 – until last year.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Jemal Tassew (Coffee FC), Sisay Bancha (Dedebit), Zerihun Tadelle (Saint George)
Defenders: Degu Debebe, Biyadglign Eliase, Abebaw Butako, Alula Girma (all Saint George), Seyum Tesfaye, Birhanu Bogale, Aynalem Hailu (all Dedebit)
Midfielders: Asrat Megersa (EEPCO), Addis Hintsa, Behailu Asefa, Minyahel Teshome (all Dedebit), Yared Zinabu, Shimelese Bekele (both Saint George), Dawit Estifanose (Coffee FC), Yusuf Salah (Syrianska)
Forwards: Saladin Said (Wadi Degla), Adane Girma, Umed Ukuri (both Saint George), Getaneh Kebede (Dedebit), Fuad Ibrahim (Minnesota Stars).