A must win game for Ethiopia, Here are some of the things to look out for when the Walia’s take on the indomitable lions of Cameroon at the Stade Omnisport Paul Biya Stadium in Group “A” second round of fixtures. Tanzanian football consultant and performance analyst Prosper Bartalomew is our guest to share his views.
The Ethiopian national team back in continental competition after 8 years of absence, kicked off their campaign with a narrow defeat at the hands of Cape Verde. meanwhile, the 2017 Afcon champions who are desperate to return to the African football pinnacle on home soil after a shocking early exit in AFCON 2019 came from behind to beat Burkina Faso 2-1 in their group opener.
Both sides head into this fixture needing three points for their interest, if Ethiopia is supposed to qualify three point is a must to revive their hopes while Cameron needs the 3 points to book their place in the knockout stage early.
In Ethiopia’s group opener Yared Bayeh’s red card as early as the 12th minute completely altered the complication of the game, the teams offensive and defensive strategy was hampered significantly.
Especially in the early minutes of the game Cape Verde with 5-2-3 out of possession was very effective in restricting Ethiopia from building up comfortably, so Ethiopia’s build up play and counter tactic that Cameron would deploy is worth mentioning.
Here is what Prosper has to say
“Ethiopia has a great advantage of having players with good technical ability who are capable of playing out from the back but the question is if Cameron will put more pressure as Cape Verde or they will just retreat in more of defensive shape out of the ball but with high turnovers. Cape Verde benefited from such turnovers that mean Cameron might be attempted to do so.”
His views are evident, according to data from Cameron’s opening game of the 51 recoveries they had only 1 came in the attacking third, this means without the ball team is designed into a compact defensive block so whenever there is a turnover they want to quickly transition.
But the other interesting tactical assessment in Ethiopia’s opening fixture was Ethiopia’s back four was seen mostly defending in a narrow manner to contain Cape Verde’s inside forwards but this time they will face a different proposition, As we witnessed in their group opener against Burkina Faso most of Cameron’s offensive threat is coming down the wings so if Ethiopia back four opted to defend in a more narrow shape as they did against Cape Verde Abubeker Nasser and Amanuel G/Micheal are expected to cover a lot of ground going back to neutralize Cameroon’s threat.
” I thought Nicolas Ngamaleu (Cameron no.3) was drifting more narrow before he was shifted into that left side, but the big question is if Clinton N’jie will be brought on the team which will be key if Ethiopia left back will be isolated on 1v1 situation compared to Ngamaleu who was more getting infield as central attacker”
With that being said Ethiopia’s national team has been improving in scenarios with the ball but still there is still a mountain to climb regarding creating that balance and especially off ball organizations, that might be on the display as the Walia’s would be up against a team out of their class.
Coming into the tournament Cameron scored just eight times in six qualification games and considering the two goals coming in the opening game coming from the spot Cameron’s offensive displayed should be an improved one if they want to secure qualification early, in the contrary, they are very sound defensively.
Vincent Aboubakar, now plying his trade in Saudi based Al- Nasser missed the 2019 Afcon due to injury but came back stronger as he was Cameron top scorer in the qualifier with 3 Goals and now is the tournament’s leading scorer with two is expected to make the difference once again.
Also, midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa who is enjoying an impressive loan spell in Italy with Napoli is also the one the Ethiopians should worry about or his club he is being deployed as a destroyer where his stats regarding breaking up possession, tackles, and interception were remarkable but for Cameroon, he is playing in a more advanced role behind Aboubakar.
On the contrary, Mingot Debebe is expected to be on the side in place of Yared Bayeh serving a one match ban, while the veteran Shimeles Bekele and goalie Fasil G/Michael are still a doubt for the game at the time of writing.
Shimeles Bekele is going to be a huge miss once again as he is an alpha man, the one dictating the tempo of the game, and last but not least those line breaking passes would be missed badly.
The controversial call last time was the inclusion of Amanuel G/Micheal in the starting lineup, so this time out would Wubetu Stick to his preferred trio of Amanuel-Getaneh-Abubeker or make a call to drop Amanuel who is out of form with a more appealing player like Shimeket Guggsa or Dawa Hottessa is anticipated.
Prosper’s final words are on what should Wubetu Abate’s men do to come out with a good result.
“They will need to cope with physical situations which are highly imposed on them when it comes on this 50 50 balls which are a key part of the game, but actually still think they will need to adjust to make sure they will not allow too many transitions which are among the bad effect of having possession and also I think Ethiopia should avoid their full back being isolated like what it happened against Burkina Faso.”