Monday, 21 January 2013
The day has finally come. The Waliyas are going to make their debut in the tournament after 31 years. For most of us, it’s our first and we’re very excited. We’re going to hear our national anthem on a big football tournament for the first time, the commentator is going to call the names of Our boys, analysts are going to talk about Our football…Yes, it is a very exciting evening indeed.
In front of sonic screens, on various Streets of Addis are the best places to watch big football tournaments. And when it’s the Waliyas that are playing, everyone turns into one big family. It’s most likely you’ll hug a stranger than anyone you know or someone in the back will tell you it’s gonna be ok when you’re worried the opponent is gonna score.But that’s what’s so beautiful, the coming together of a nation for a single purpose.
When the Waliyas enter the pitch, Meskel Square is deafened with screams. They start singing the national anthem. We don’t hear a sound but we lip-read and follow them. Everyone‘s singing from the bottom of their hearts. If Ethiopia was a mother, in literal meaning, she would’ve been so proud on how we were all standing together to honor her.
I don’t know if anyone could’ve really predicted what was going to happen in the next hour and a half. I can tell you this because throughout the entire match everyone was just stunned with their performance.I’m no football professional ora sports journalist so I’m not going to say anything about football technicalities but you don’t have to be one to know that our boys played well that evening.
Celebrations that night would have confused any outsider because it was as if we had won the cup. It was a smaller version of the October 14th madness. It’s no surprise though. That game was a sign of hope, it was a great first match, and it was a game like we’ve never seen our team play before. They’d managed to hold former champions to a draw and with a plausible performance. I’m sure no one had a hint of doubt in their hearts about making it to the quarter finals. Talking about it now is almost painful but we wouldn’t take that night back for anything, no matter how things ended for our team.
The following four days we heard so many wonderful things about the Waliyas. The conversations over coffee were about Ade’s goal, Sala’s misses, JemalTassew’s move and Addis being a world class mid fielder(we girls were talking other things about him too but we’ll get back to that later on). It was the best week for Ethiopian football; that was ofcourse until Friday night.