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Kenya deserved to win, says Ethiopia coach

Ethiopia head coach Abraham Mebratu at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani during a training session on October 13, 2018. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 15 – Ethiopia head coach Abraham Mebratu has lauded Kenya’s performance against his side on Sunday saying the hosts deserved to win their Group F 2019 African Cup of Nations qualification tie.

Stars were in imperious form at a fully packed Kasarani Stadium hitting the Walya Ibex 3-0 courtesy of goals from Eric Johannah, Michael Olunga and skipper Victor Wanyama.

Mebratu who had hoped to pick three points from the tie and put his country’s AFCON campaign back on track has blamed poor tactical concentration for his side’s loss.

“We conceded the first two goals because of lack of concentration. In the first half we were not okay and we did not play well, but we improved a bit in the second half. But, wecouldn’t score and that was the problem,” the tactician said.

Harambee Stars striker Michael Olunga attempts to find a way past Ethiopia’s Anteneh Tesfaye and Aschalew Tamene during a 2019 AFCON qualifier at the Kasarani Stadium on October 14, 2018. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

He added; “The penalty we conceded changed everything and my players’ confidence dropped. We couldn’t fight after that. Congratulations to Kenya and I think they deserved to win.”

Pending on a decision from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) over Sierra Leone’s participation in the qualifiers, Ethiopia remained second in the standings with four points off four matches while Kenya moved to seven at the top.

If Sierra Leone are booted from the qualifiers, Ethiopia will remain with a point and will work to beat Ghana at home and hope Kenya beats Ghana away for them to have a chance of qualifying to next year’s Cup of Nations.

Nonetheless, Mebratu hopes that Sierra Leone are admitted back into the qualifiers to ensure they hand them a realistic chance of qualification.

Ethiopia head players at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani during a training session on October 13, 2018. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

“So far, there is no official communication from CAF about Sierra Leone. As far as we are concerned we still know they are in the competition and we are still on the patch for qualification. It is not yet finished. We have two more games; at home against Ghana and away to Sierra Leone and I hope we can win,” the tactician said.

The next round of qualification matches will be played next month. Ethiopia will play Ghana’s Black Stars at home while Kenya will square out with Sierra Leone in Nairobi.