The Ethiopian national football team became the first of 24 qualified teams for the tournament to arrive in Cameroon, when they landed on the 26th of December 2021. The CAF Africa Cup of Nations, officially CAN and sanctioned by the Confederation of African Football, is the main international men’s association football competition in Africa.

Head of the Ethiopian delegation Abelé Gelagoy has told the press that it was necessary to take the lead in order to familiarize themselves with the Cameroonian public:

“Yes, indeed we should arrive early to prepare ourselves and acclimatize to Cameroon, especially with the climate and weather here; especially we wanted to do something different with our team.”

The Ethiopians travelled to Cameroon with a 28-man squad after the nation’s football federation summoned three players to join the 25-man initial squad selected for the tournament.

Wubetu Abate, the team’s Head Coach has selected an entirely local team consisting of players who all play in the country, except for Bekelé who plays in Egypt and Kassim who plays in Algeria:

“It’s a young team, most of them play at home in the local league, and we have two players who play away. So, if we have young players, it shows that there will be energy, there is motivation to play and I think that is the most important thing.”

After completing all necessary Covid-19 testing procedures, the team took up hold in a hotel in the capital, before beginning its first training session on Cameroonian soil. Ethiopia will face Egypt, Nigeria and Guinea Bissau in the group that plays in Garoua.

This will be Ethiopia’s debut in AFCON since its last appearance in South Africa in 2013.