Ethiopian knock-out tourney reaches semi-final stage

Article from: The Ethiopian Herald

30 Jun 2015 Sport

 Four teams reached the Ethiopian knock-out tournament final stage after beating their opponents last Thursday and Friday. St. George knocked out Arba Minch City with a 1-0 margin while Mekelakeya knocked out Sidama Coffee with a 2-0 result.

On Friday Wolayita Dicha knocked out Electric with a 1-0 result while Hawassa City beat Coffee 2-1. The encounter to go through to the semi-finals brought something unexpected coincidence. In the first group both the Addis sides St. George and Mekelakeya reached the semi-final stage knocking out the teams from the South while in group two the reverse happened: both teams from the South knocked out the Addis sides.

One long time soccer fans jokingly remarked that this was a fight between the South and Addis sides and the result was a balanced one.

The other surprising coincidence in this contest is the fixture of the semi-finals: both winners of the quarter finals in group one are from Addis Ababa while both winners of group two are from the South. So the encounter in group one is between the Addis sides: St. George and Mekelakeya. This is the Addis affairs while the encounter in group two is between Hawassa City and Wolayita Dicha which is the South affairs.

In the Ethiopian knock-out tournament history St. George and Mekelakeya share the record by taking equal 11 times in 71 years. This year the two sides will meet in the semi-final. If one of the two succeeds to take title, the winner will automatically become the sole record holder.

The event organizer, EFF, announced that the semi-final matches that are set to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday (today and tomorrow), are postponed due to the national team’s travel to Kenya. There is a fear that the season’s Ethiopian knock-out tournament may extend to the next Ethiopian year. This is a failure in programming. The world football governing body, FIFA and the continental football governor, CAF regulation strictly states that competition set for one season must come to an end in the same season. But what is observed is the inability to fully complete the season’s contest in the same season.

The Ethiopian Premier League soccer club competition came to a conclusion in May. That is a sign of good performance. One of the problems to finish the knock-out tournament is inability to synchronize the two competitions together. International experience has it that the knock-out tournament takes place at intervals of the ongoing premier league matches. In this way all the big soccer leagues of Europe and elsewhere complete their knock-out and league competition in one season with little difficulty.

Despite this tangible set of experience the country’s football competition organizing body has not been able to complete the knock-out tournament in the same season. In the eyes of many soccer fans this is appalling. It also adds financial pressure on the clubs.

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