NAIROBI, July 3 – Ethiopia head coach, Yohannes Tessema has played down the significance of their healthy 2-0 first-leg advantage as they prepare to face hosts Harambee Stars in Saturday’s CHAN return-leg clash at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium.
Tessema, a former Ethiopian giants St, George player, said he has no injury worries and their target is to progress to the second round where the winner between Djibouti and Burundi await.
The fancied Walia Ibex who reached last edition’s group stages of the home nations showpiece, had shifted their training base to Awasi City, 104km from capital Addis Ababa, to acclimatize to the Kenyan high elevation.
“We are here to win and go home. We need to go to the next round. This is a new ball game we have forgotten what happened in the past. Right now it’s all about 90 minutes. We will look at it as if we have never played each other before.
“We have to do a better job because our guys are motivated. They want to prove themselves because some of them missed a lot of chances in the first-leg.
“We have the advantage but we never look at it that way,” Tessema declared after conducting their last training on the eve of the game at match venue, Nairobi’s Nyayo Stadium.
The coach asserted his charges will not be troubled playing away but admitted it will be a tall order to beat Stars in their own turf.
Ethiopia who return to the pitch they held Stars to a barren draw during the 2013 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup will see their danger man Aschalew Girma who scored their opener, give the Kenyan defence a torrid time.
“We are not coming here to defend, we want to score goals. Stars are a very organised team and it was very hard for us to break their defence to score those two goals,” he added.
Stars who are expected to host the 2018 edition, will be seeking to overturn the deficit and revive their hopes of reaching their maiden CHAN final when the fourth edition will be hosted in Rwanda next year.
Stars head coach, Bobby Williamson is expected to make changes in the defence after the inclusion of Gor Mahia centre backs, Musa Mohammed and Harun Shakava as well as left-back, Dennis Odhiambo who all missed the Ethiopia trip.
Kenya will be battling against history having failed to overhaul such an imposing first-leg deficit in recent times in official tournament competition at the tie overshadowed by broadcast rights war between SuperSport and StarTimes who lay claim to authority to air the game.