Ethiopia will take on Uganda in an international friendly on June 3 in Addis Ababa as both sides prepare for their opening fixtures in the Afcon 2019 qualifiers.
The Walia Ibex were drawn in Group F along with four-time African champions Ghana, neighbours Kenya and Sierra Leone.
Newly appointed Ethiopia head coach Ashenafi Bekele in an exclusive interview with supersport.com said, “Playing against Uganda will give us very good preparation for our game against Ghana. The Cranes are a top side in African football especially if you see the events of the past two years.”
“They have players who play at a high level and will give us a very good challenge. Last year, they held Ghana to a goalless draw in Tamale which goes to show you their quality.”
Bekele, who is keen on qualifying Ethiopia to Afcon for the first time since 2013 when they ended a 31-year old jinx, understands the importance of kicking off the campaign on a high note.
Playing against Ghana away from home will call for precision and determination from the Walia Ibex whose last fixture was last September in a 2-1 win over Seychelles in the Afcon 2017 qualifiers.
Meanwhile, Ghana played at Afcon 2017 in Gabon and reached the semifinals for a sixth consecutive time, a rather consistent feat that has seen them maintain their place among the top teams in African football.
However, with St George competing in the Caf Champions League group stages against the reigning African champions Mamelodi Sundowns, 2014 finalists AS Vita and 2007 winners Etoile du Sahel in Group C, several of Bekele’s players will be up against top opposition.
Ethiopia will ultimately be looking to qualify for Afcon 2019 in Cameroon but they have to finish top of Group F or finish among the top three second best placed teams.