Premier league to commence next month
The Ethiopian Premier League (EPL) is set start in October with title holders St. George hosting Dire Dawa City while the Horsemen’s city rivals, Ethiopia Coffee, play Sidama Coffee. In another game, newcomer Welwalo Adigrat will play their first ever top flight game against Fasil City.
The Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) announced this week that that the 2017/18 EPL season has been scheduled to start on October 30 but also stated that the date would be postponed if the rains do not stop. EFF was scheduled to start the new season on October 14, but later postponed it to October 30. The federation unveiled fixtures for the upcoming games on Monday September 25, 2017 in Jupiter Hotel.
On the first week matches, the Horsemen will Dire Dawa City at Addis Ababa Stadium. Both clubs are in pre-season preparations, which include strengthening their squad by signing new players. The Horsemen have already signed Arba Minch City’s creative midfielder Tadele Mengesha a couples of months ago. In addition, they have secured the services of Mulualem Mesfin from Sidama Coffee, Ame Mohammed from Jimma Abba Bunna and Abdulkarim Mohammed.
Last year’s relegation fighters Dire Dawa City have also been busy during the transfer window. Ghanaian winger Gideon Akakpo is one player that put pen to paper for Dire Dawa City. Dire were struggling for survival last season and hope to turn things around this season.
Meanwhile, the newly promoted Welwalo Adigrat will face Fasil City on opening week. Welwalo Adigrat University was promoted to the Ethiopian Premier League for the first time after the end of 2016/17 season. Fasil City was in Bishoftu for their pre-season training for weeks and have managed to sign experienced local and foreign players. The Gondar outfit announced the signing of five experienced players from various African countries. Ugandan duo of Yasser Mugerwa and Robert Sentongo, former to Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) top goal scorer Philip Dauzi, Chirstooher Omoseibai and Malian custodian Mamaodu Samaki have all joined the Emperors.
Other Ethiopian players that joined the Emperors include former Ethiopia Coffee and Electric midfield maestro Dawit Estifanos, St. George winger Ramkel Lok and Dedebit defender Ayanalem Haile. Newcomers are also actively participating in the transfer market strengthening their squad. Welwalo signed three foreign players one from Burkina Faso and two from Ghana.
Elsewhere, more than half of EPL clubs are preparing in various regions and playing in annual South Castle Cup competition which is now taking place since September 23. Fasil City, Ethiopian Coffee, Dire Dawa City and South-based clubs Sidama Coffee, Arba Minch City, Hawasa City and Woliata Dicha are participating in the competition.