ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia included only two foreign-based players in a 25-man squad for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations as they announced plans on Thursday to go early to the tournament in Cameroon.
Striker Mujib Kassim is based at Algeria’s JS Kabylie while midfield stalwart Shimeles Bekele plays his club football in Egypt and is one of three players who remain from the squad that competed at the 2013 finals when Ethiopia last qualified.
The other two are captain Getaneh Kebede and back-up goalkeeper Jemal Tassew.
Ethiopia coach Wubetu Abate said the squad would depart for Cameroon on Sunday, two weeks before their opening Group A game against the Cape Verde Islands in Yaounde on Jan. 9.
Hosts Cameroon and Burkina Faso are also in the same group as Ethiopia seek to get past the first round at the finals for the first time since 1968 when they were semi-finalists.
Goalkeepers: Fasil Gebremichael (Bahir Dar Ketema), Teklemariam Shanko (Sidama Bunna), Jemal Tassew (Adama Ketema)
Defenders: Menaf Awol (Bahir Dar Kenema), Yared Bayeh (Fasil Kenema), Manot Debebe, Suleiman Hamid (both St George), Aschalew Tamene (Fasil Kenema), Asrat Tunjo (Ethiopian Bunna), Ramadan Yesuf (Wolkite Kenema), Desta Yohannes (Adama Kenema)
Midfielders: Fitsum Alemu (Bahir Dar Ketema), Shimeles Bekele (El Gouna), Bezabeh Meleyou (Fasil Kenema), Mesud Mohammed (Jimma Aba Jifar), Gatoch Panom (St George), Firew Solomon (Sidama Bunna), Amanuel Yohannes (Ethiopian Bunna)
Forwards: Amanuel Gebremichael (St George), Shimeket Guggsa (Fasil Kenema), Dawa Hottesa (Adama Kenema), Mujib Kassim (JS Kabylie), Getaneh Kebede (Wolkite Kenema), Abubeker Nasser (Ethiopian Bunna), Mesfin Tafesse (Awassa Kenema)
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Johannesburg; Editing by Ken Ferris)