CHAN 2023 Preview: A chat with Maher Mezahi as Ethiopia faces Algeria in the second group game

Ethiopia will face Algeria on Tuesday night’s CHAN 2023 group stage tie as they look to improve from their opening day 0-0 draw against Mozambique.

Webetu Abate’s side wasted plenty of chances in their first game as they failed to capitalize on their dominance. They will have to be more clinical in front of goal in this crucial game against the hosts.

We spoke to Algerian football journalist Maher Mezahi to preview tonight’s showdown.

How do you assess the strength of this Algerian side? Who are the key players ?

Maher: The strength of this Algerian side is not as strong as it should be. The Algerian league isn’t able to retain most of its players. Six or seven players will go to Europe and triple that will go to leagues in Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, and Middle East.

Because the Algerian clubs pay less salary at the highest level compared to clubs like Raja Casablanca, Wydad Casablanca and Espérance de Tunis they lose players to these leagues.

The key players of the team are in midfield. 22-year-old Houssem Mrezigue of CR Belouzidad is the player to watch. He has won multiple Algerian league titles and played in the Champions League. He also won the Arab Cup in 2021. He has a good passing range and wouldn’t be surprised to see him play in one of the leagues I mentioned.

The second player is Ahmed Kendouci , another midfielder. He is the leading scorer in the Algerian league. I expect him to play outside of Algeria soon.

The last one is Zakaria Draoui , who isn’t as good as the other two players but brings a good balance to the midfield.

Do you expect Ethiopia to offer a tough challenge? Which Ethiopian player do you think the Algerians should keep an eye on ?

Maher: I do expect Ethiopia to offer a tough challenge. I have been interested with the technical qualities of Ethiopian players since 2014. It seems like the Ethiopians do the hard part and give up on the easy part like making mistakes in defense. But I’ve not only been impressed by the players but also the fans. Playing at Addis Ababa always seem difficult because of the atmosphere and altitude.

I was pleased to hear that Getaneh Kebede wasn’t playing. He might be getting older but he is crafty and knows how to score goals.

We need to keep an eye on Gatoch Panom. I think he is Ethiopia’s best player. I’ve heard good things about the young players like Amanuel Gebremicheal and Chernet Gugsa. It’s not Ethiopia’s best team but it won’t be easy.

What does winning CHAN mean for Algeria ?

Winning the trophy means a lot especially since Algeria is the host. The government is trying to increase sport diplomacy by hosting so many tournaments. Algeria wants to host and win as many tournaments as possible for political and also sporting reasons. We’ve seen countries like Morocco, Egypt and Saudi Arabia do this. But I don’t think it matters that much as long as the team put on a respectful performance and not get eliminated at the group stage or quarter finals.

Why do you think the coach insisted on preventing his players from looking at social media sites before the game? Any story behind his decision? Does it have to do anything with the Algerian media/ fans ?

Maher: The coach said to the fans and journalists to give the players time. Most people weren’t happy about the first game because it was close and there weren’t many chances. He is wary of pressure from the public. It’s about telling the players to not listen to the noise outside and not about banning social media.

Betking EthPL

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
Round 1
30 Sep 2022 13:00
WOLKITE
1
0
AMK
30 Sep 2022 16:00
BAHIRDAR
2
1
ELCETRIC
1 Oct 2022 13:00
MEDIN
1
7
GIORGIS
1 Oct 2022 16:00
DIRE
2
2
SIDAMA
2 Oct 2022 13:00
DICHA
0
0
BUNNA
2 Oct 2022 16:00
HAWASSA
1
2
TAFO
3 Oct 2022 13:00
FASIL
2
1
ADAMA
3 Oct 2022 16:00
MECHAL
1
0
HOSSANA
Round 2
5 Oct 2022 13:00
BAHIRDAR
0
1
WOLKITE
5 Oct 2022 16:00
AMK
3
4
MEDIN
6 Oct 2022 13:00
ELCETRIC
0
1
GIORGIS
6 Oct 2022 16:00
TAFO
1
1
DIRE
7 Oct 2022 13:00
HOSSANA
4
1
SIDAMA
7 Oct 2022 16:00
ADAMA
2
0
MECHAL
10 Oct 2022 16:00
BUNNA
1
2
HAWASSA
4 Dec 2022 16:00
DICHA
1
0
FASIL
Round 3
12 Oct 2022 16:00
MECHAL
1
2
AMK
13 Oct 2022 13:00
DICHA
1
1
ELCETRIC
13 Oct 2022 16:00
SIDAMA
1
5
GIORGIS
14 Oct 2022 13:00
MEDIN
4
1
TAFO
14 Oct 2022 16:00
HAWASSA
0
1
ADAMA
15 Oct 2022 13:00
DIRE
1
3
HOSSANA
15 Oct 2022 16:00
WOLKITE
0
1
BUNNA
29 Oct 2022 16:00
FASIL
0
0
BAHIRDAR
Round 4
18 Oct 2022 13:00
ADAMA
1
2
GIORGIS
18 Oct 2022 16:00
WOLKITE
3
4
HAWASSA
19 Oct 2022 13:00
AMK
0
0
HOSSANA
19 Oct 2022 16:00
BAHIRDAR
1
1
DIRE
20 Oct 2022 13:00
BUNNA
1
0
SIDAMA
20 Oct 2022 16:00
ELCETRIC
3
0
TAFO
21 Oct 2022 13:00
FASIL
0
1
MECHAL
21 Oct 2022 16:00
DICHA
0
1
MEDIN
Round 5
24 Oct 2022 13:00
HAWASSA
2
2
DIRE
24 Oct 2022 16:00
ELCETRIC
2
2
ADAMA
25 Oct 2022 13:00
WOLKITE
0
1
SIDAMA
25 Oct 2022 16:00
FASIL
1
0
GIORGIS
26 Oct 2022 13:00
BAHIRDAR
2
0
TAFO
26 Oct 2022 16:00
MECHAL
1
2
MEDIN
27 Oct 2022 13:00
DICHA
0
1
HOSSANA
27 Oct 2022 16:00
BUNNA
2
0
AMK
Round 6
4 Nov 2022 16:00
MEDIN
2
3
BAHIRDAR
4 Nov 2022 19:00
DIRE
3
1
BUNNA
5 Nov 2022 16:00
MECHAL
0
1
DICHA
5 Nov 2022 19:00
WOLKITE
2
1
ELCETRIC
6 Nov 2022 16:00
HAWASSA
2
0
FASIL
6 Nov 2022 19:00
GIORGIS
1
1
AMK
7 Nov 2022 16:00
SIDAMA
2
0
ADAMA
7 Nov 2022 19:00
HOSSANA
1
0
TAFO
Round 7
10 Nov 2022 16:00
GIORGIS
2
2
WOLKITE
10 Nov 2022 19:00
DIRE
1
1
MECHAL
11 Nov 2022 16:00
MEDIN
2
0
ELCETRIC
11 Nov 2022 19:00
SIDAMA
0
1
HAWASSA
12 Nov 2022 16:00
AMK
0
2
BAHIRDAR
12 Nov 2022 19:00
HOSSANA
0
0
FASIL
13 Nov 2022 16:00
ADAMA
0
3
BUNNA
13 Nov 2022 19:00
TAFO
3
4
DICHA
Round 8
16 Nov 2022 16:00
HOSSANA
2
2
HAWASSA
16 Nov 2022 19:00
SIDAMA
0
4
MEDIN
17 Nov 2022 16:00
ADAMA
1
2
DICHA
17 Nov 2022 19:00
GIORGIS
0
0
MECHAL
18 Nov 2022 16:00
BUNNA
1
3
BAHIRDAR
18 Nov 2022 19:00
DIRE
2
1
ELCETRIC
19 Nov 2022 16:00
AMK
1
1
FASIL
19 Nov 2022 19:00
TAFO
0
3
WOLKITE
Round 9
22 Nov 2022 16:00
MECHAL
0
2
SIDAMA
22 Nov 2022 19:00
HAWASSA
0
3
GIORGIS
23 Nov 2022 16:00
MEDIN
1
3
DIRE
23 Nov 2022 19:00
ELCETRIC
2
4
BUNNA
24 Nov 2022 16:00
WOLKITE
0
0
HOSSANA
24 Nov 2022 19:00
DICHA
0
0
AMK
25 Nov 2022 16:00
FASIL
3
0
TAFO
25 Nov 2022 19:00
BAHIRDAR
1
0
ADAMA
Round 10
28 Nov 2022 16:00
MECHAL
1
1
ELCETRIC
28 Nov 2022 19:00
MEDIN
0
0
HAWASSA
29 Nov 2022 16:00
DIRE
2
2
WOLKITE
29 Nov 2022 19:00
SIDAMA
2
4
FASIL
30 Nov 2022 16:00
GIORGIS
3
0
DICHA
30 Nov 2022 19:00
HOSSANA
0
2
BAHIRDAR
1 Dec 2022 16:00
TAFO
2
2
BUNNA
1 Dec 2022 19:00
AMK
1
0
ADAMA
Round 11
6 Dec 2022 16:00
ADAMA
3
0
TAFO
6 Dec 2022 19:00
BAHIRDAR
0
0
GIORGIS
7 Dec 2022 16:00
ELCETRIC
2
2
AMK
7 Dec 2022 19:00
HAWASSA
0
2
MECHAL
8 Dec 2022 16:00
BUNNA
0
1
HOSSANA
8 Dec 2022 19:00
WOLKITE
1
2
MEDIN
10 Dec 2022 16:00
DICHA
-
-
SIDAMA
Postponed
10 Dec 2022 19:00
FASIL
1
2
DIRE
Round 12
12 Dec 2022 14:00
MECHAL
1
1
WOLKITE
12 Dec 2022 18:00
HOSSANA
0
0
ADAMA
13 Dec 2022 15:00
DIRE
0
1
DICHA
13 Dec 2022 18:00
SIDAMA
1
1
BAHIRDAR
14 Dec 2022 15:00
HAWASSA
1
0
ELCETRIC
14 Dec 2022 18:00
GIORGIS
-
-
BUNNA
Postpond
15 Dec 2022 15:00
MEDIN
0
0
FASIL
15 Dec 2022 18:00
TAFO
1
1
AMK
Round 13
16 Dec 2022 15:00
BAHIRDAR
2
3
MECHAL
16 Dec 2022 18:00
ELCETRIC
0
0
HOSSANA
17 Dec 2022 15:00
FASIL
0
0
WOLKITE
17 Dec 2022 18:00
BUNNA
0
1
MEDIN
18 Dec 2022 15:00
ADAMA
2
0
DIRE
18 Dec 2022 18:00
DICHA
1
1
HAWASSA
19 Dec 2022 15:00
TAFO
0
4
GIORGIS
19 Dec 2022 18:00
AMK
3
3
SIDAMA
Round 14
22 Dec 2022 15:00
MECHAL
-
-
BUNNA
22 Dec 2022 18:00
FASIL
-
-
ELCETRIC
23 Dec 2022 15:00
HAWASSA
-
-
BAHIRDAR
23 Dec 2022 18:00
GIORGIS
-
-
HOSSANA
24 Dec 2022 15:00
MEDIN
-
-
ADAMA
24 Dec 2022 18:00
WOLKITE
-
-
DICHA
25 Dec 2022 15:00
SIDAMA
-
-
TAFO
25 Dec 2022 18:00
DIRE
-
-
AMK
Round 15
28 Dec 2022 15:00
HOSSANA
-
-
MEDIN
28 Dec 2022 18:00
BUNNA
-
-
FASIL
29 Dec 2022 15:00
AMK
-
-
HAWASSA
29 Dec 2022 18:00
TAFO
-
-
MECHAL
30 Dec 2022 15:00
GIORGIS
-
-
DIRE
30 Dec 2022 18:00
BAHIRDAR
-
-
DICHA
31 Dec 2022 15:00
ELCETRIC
-
-
SIDAMA
31 Dec 2022 18:00
ADAMA
-
-
WOLKITE

Standing Table

#
Player
Played
Goals
1
Kidus Giorgis
12
13
2
Wolkite Ketema
13
10
3
Diredawa Ketema
13
7
4
Fasil Kenema
13
7
5
Sidama Bunna
12
6
6
Hawassa Ketema
10
5
7
Ethiopia Medin
11
5
8
Diredawa Ketema
12
5
9
Bahir Dar Ketema
13
5
10
Bahir Dar Ketema
8
4

Competitions

competition logo
Ethiopian Higher League
competition logo
Ethiopian League 1
competition logo
Ethiopian Women's Higher League
competition logo
Ethiopian Womens Premier League
competition logo
U-20 Premier League
P