The Ethiopian National Team a.k.a. Walias will be seeking for the maximum points against Crocodiles of Lesotho in an away match that will be played in Maseru in a Group J Day Five clash to boost their chance. This will be the first match under new coach Gebremedhin Haile.
Gebremedhin has been in charge since May and will lead the Walias in his first assignment against Lesotho National Team.
Ethiopia came from behind to frustrate Lesotho in a game that ended 2-1 with the goals coming from Gatoch Panom and Salahdin Said.
Algeria leads Group J with 10 points followed by the Walias who have collected five.
The Walias hopes were dealt a huge blow back in March after a 7-1 humiliation by Algeria in Blida, whilst a 3-3 draw in the return leg in Addis Ababa finally saw their quest for the group's automatic ticket go up in flames.
With Algeria certain to go through as the winners of the group, the 1962 African champions' only resort is by finishing in second place to be in contention for the two slots for best runner-ups.
Gebremedhin has admitted the Walias have a slim chance of reaching Gabon, but will fight till the very end.
“Other teams, who are currently runner-ups in their respective groups, have a better point tally than us. Our only hope is to win the remaining ties and wait for the other groups' results.
“Hence, we will deploy an attacking style of play against Lesotho. We will also be cautious in our defense too. We cannot make a miracle within a short time but we will try to satisfy our supporters," the former national team striker said.
The coach has dropped five players from the provisional squad that will face Lesotho. The notable absentee is Saint George striker Salahdin, who withdrew from the squad due to a hamstring injury sustained during a build-up game against Premier League outfit Commercial Bank of Ethiopia. Samson Assefa, Addis Tesaye, Ephrem Wondesen and Mulualem Mesfin will also play no part in the Lesotho clash.
Meanwhile, University of Pretoria forward Getaneh Kebede has been appointed captain.
Goalkeepers: Jemal Tassew (Defense FC), Abel Mamo (Mugher Cement)
Defenders: Asechalew Tamene (Saint George), Abdulkerim Mohammed, Ahmed Reshid (Ethiopia Coffee), Anteneh Tesfaye (Sidama Coffee), Yared Bayeh (Dashen Beer), Desta Yohannis (Hawassa City)
Midfielders: Shemeles Bekele (Petrojet, Egypt), Ephrem Ashamo (Commercial Bank of Ethiopia), Asrat Megerssa (Dashen Beer), Tadele Mengesha (Arba Minch City), Shemkit Gugesa (Dedebit), Mentesenote Adane (Saint George), Gatoch Panom, Elias Mamo (Ethiopia Coffee)
Forwards: Getaneh Kebede (University of Pretoria, South Africa), Tafese Tesfaye (Adama City), Dawit Fikadu (Dedebit)