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Preview: Cape Verde vs. Ethiopia

The later match on Sunday features Ethiopia taking on Cape Verde as the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations begins with plenty of headlines on its opening day. While the opening matchup between hosts Cameroon and Burkina Faso is set to be played under a cloud of controversy, there does not appear to be any particular disputes leading into the game between the Blue Sharks and the Walias. Both teams will be considering the game an excellent opportunity to grab three points before facing the more pedigreed Cameroon and Burkina Faso.

CAF Online reports that Ethiopia will be missing veteran leader and attacking midfielder/forward Shimelis Bekele. The Egyptian-based playmaker will be out due to a foot injury but star forwards Getaneh Kebede and Abubeker Nassir should be available for the crucial game. Ethiopia manager Wubetu Abate stated that preparations were ideal for the Walias and that the team’s goal is to surprise the experts by showing the talent that the nation has, particularly from its younger players.

Cape Verde have been hit by a few absences due to Covid-19, including head coach Bubista. Assistant coach Humberto Bettencourt will be on the sidelines for the Blue Sharks, and he highlighted the priority of keeping all attention on Ethiopia before thinking about the matchup against hosts Cameroon. Third-string goalkeeper Keven Ramos and forward Gilson Tavares have tested positive for Covid-19 and are not in Cameroon with the team yet, but no key players are out for Cape Verde and starting forward Júlio Tavares has arrived in time to take part in the game.

The Blue Sharks were forced to cancel a trip to Morocco for final preparations and two scheduled friendly matches due to Covid-related circumstances, and wrapped up their preparations at home in Praia before heading to Cameroon. Cape Verde is setting advancement to the knockout stage as its goal for the competition.

CAF Online has the quotes from the pre-match press conference in the first article below with articles from Portuguese media about the Cape Verde team further below.

Ethiopia v Cape Verde – For a bright start (CAF Online)

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