Ethiopia’s Abraham Mebratu rewrites history in Yemen

Ethiopia’s Abraham Mebratu rewrites history in Yemen

by Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Mar 29, 2018. 13:30

Ethiopia’s Abraham Mebratu has become the first coach to lead the Yemen national team to the Asian Cup finals.

Mebratu made history by leading the war-torn country to the Asian Cup finals for the first time after a 2-1 win over Nepal.

Yemen clinched qualification for next year's finals in UAE thanks to a 2-1 win over Nepal coupled with a victory for the Philippines nation over visiting Tajikistan by the same score.

They wrapped up their qualifying campaign with an unbeaten run, having collected four victories and two draws.

"It's surreal that we achieved this feat despite the campaign being full of difficulties and challenges," Mebratu told BBC Sport.

"Due to the fact that there is a war in Yemen, there hasn't been a league competition since 2014.

"Nonetheless, we finally managed to get a good squad to go all the way to the finals.

"We played all of our home games far from home but still we notched tremendous results that have made all Yemenis rejoice as one in these trying times.

"As an Ethiopian I am proud that my charges made it this far."

Despite challenges such as playing their games away from home in Qatar due to unrest, Mebratu also becomes the first Ethiopian coach to lead a foreign country to a major tournament.

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