Soccer-Ethiopia sack coach after dismal African championship


By Aaron Maasho

ADDIS ABABA, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Ethiopia have sacked coach Sewnet Bishaw, who led the underachievers to the brink of qualification for this year's World Cup, after a dismal run in the 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN).

Sewnet was appointed coach of the "Walyas" - named after an antelope endemic to the Horn of Africa country - in 2011 for his second spell in charge. Two years later, Ethiopia clinched their first African Cup of Nations qualification in three decades.

Ethiopia's fairytale run also saw them reach the final knockout round for a place at Brazil in what would have been East Africa's first-ever appearance at a World Cup finals, but they lost over two legs against heavyweights Nigeria.

But the Walyas' fortunes waned at last month's CHAN - a competition for quasi-national teams made up of home-based players only - where they exited without scoring a single goal after three losses.

"Sewnet, his deputy and the goalkeeping coach did a phenomenal job, leading our country to historic success," Junedin Beshah, president of the Ethiopian Football Federation, told Reuters.

"But we asked ourselves where Ethiopian football was heading. We need young blood to build on the foundations already laid and prepare ourselves for better results in Morocco," he added, referring to next year's African Cup of Nations.

Junedin said Ethiopia's governing body would appoint a new coach "soon" and was looking at both domestic and foreign managers to take the helm.

The Walyas won their first and only African Cup of Nations in 1962. They have now re-established themselves in the continental fold after decades of poor results saw them fail to qualify for 13 editions before 2013.

(Editing by George Obulutsa and Stephen Wood)

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