PREPARATIONS have stepped up several gears leading up to Sunday’s World Cup final playoff between Ethiopia and Nigeria in Addis Ababa, reports mtnfootball.com.
At the weekend, Ethiopia’s top stars led by Getaneh Kebede joined up with the rest of the squad ahead of the epic clash.
Kebede, who missed his team’s final group qualifier against CAR due to injury, has been in fine form for South African club Bidvest Wits, where he has so far scored four goals.
He was not available for his South African club at the weekend because of a nagging ankle injury.
Today, elections into the executive committee of Ethiopia Football Federation (EFF) will be conducted and it is already known that the affairs of the EFF will no longer be piloted by the current boss, Sahlu Gebremariam, after he failed to get nomination from his constituency.
Some have seen the FA polls as a huge distraction before the country’s most important football match.
All the same, expectations are sky-high in Ethiopia that the Walya Antelopes will stun star-studded Nigeria on Sunday with coach Sewnet Bishaw saying his team have improved from the one who lost 2-0 to Nigeria in an AFCON group game in January.
Nigeria, on the other hand, expect a full house at their training camp in the country’s capital city of Abuja Tuesday.
They are expected to put in at least four full training sessions before their departure to Addis Ababa.
The Super Eagles have called up 23 players, 18 Europe-based and five from the domestic league.
Newcastle striker, Shola Ameobi, was a major injury doubt for Sunday’s showdown but coach Stephen Keshi has assured the experienced front man will be available for selection.
Nigeria will fly out to Ethiopia on Saturday afternoon on chartered flights.
When both teams last clashed in Addis Ababa in a 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, Nigeria had to fight back to draw 2-2 courtesy of a late equaliser by skipper Joseph Yobo.
Striker Ikechukwu Uche put Nigeria ahead after 27 minutes, but Ethiopia star striker, Saladin Said, fired two goals in the 45th and 50th minutes to unnerve the Eagles.
Sunday’s match at the National Stadium will kick off 4pm Ethiopian time, which is 2pm Nigerian time.