The National Sport of Ethiopia is Soccer.
Soccer in Ethiopia brings passion and excitement, connecting people across the nation with its vibrant fan culture.
To learn more about sports culture in Ethiopia, read our article about the most popular sports in Ethiopia.
Table of Contents
#1 History of Soccer
- 1943: Establishment of the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF), responsible for the overall management of soccer in the country.
- 1957: Ethiopia participated in their first major international football competition at the 1957 African Cup of Nations.
- 1962: Ethiopia clinched its first African Cup of Nations title, becoming the third different nation to win the prestigious tournament.
- 1970: The country made its first appearance in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, competing for a spot in the 1970 World Cup.
- 1993: The Ethiopian Premier League was formed, consisting of professional soccer clubs competing in the top-tier domestic competition.
#2 Culture and Traditions
Soccer plays a significant role in Ethiopia’s cultural identity, with children and adults taking pride in participating in and supporting local, regional, and national teams. The sport is an essential aspect of social life, as communities come together to watch and celebrate games both at domestic and international levels.
Festivals, rituals, and events associated with soccer often take place in Ethiopia, such as the Ethiopian Premier League championships and regional soccer tournaments, drawing large crowds. Additionally, the Ethiopian national team’s matches, especially during international competitions like the African Cup of Nations, become focal points for Ethiopian communities to rally behind their team.
Local soccer clubs and academies also provide a platform for Ethiopian talent to nurture and showcase their skills on the field. Many Ethiopian soccer players, both past and present, have grown their reputations through domestic competitions, earning them spots on international teams and clubs across the globe.
#3 How it Works: Rules, Gameplay and Equipment
📕 Rules & Gameplay
- Match Duration: A standard match consists of two halves, each lasting 45 minutes, with a 15-minute break in between.
- Objective: Each team tries to score by getting the ball into the opposing team’s goal.
- Players: Each team has 11 players, including one goalkeeper.
- Offside: A player is offside if they are nearer to the opponent’s goal than both the ball and the second last opponent when the ball is played to them.
- Fouls: Direct and indirect free-kicks and penalty kicks are awarded for infringements of the rules.
⚙️ Equipment & Gear
- Ball: Round and made of leather or another suitable material.
- Goalposts: Located at each end of the field, they are 7.32 meters wide and 2.44 meters tall.
- Kits: Teams wear distinguishing kits, with goalkeepers wearing different colors to stand out.
- Shin Guards: Protection for players from potential tackles or hits.
- Boots: Specialized shoes designed for the sport’s requirements.
#4 Modern Development of Soccer
Over the years, soccer in Ethiopia has significantly progressed, with the Ethiopian Premier League becoming more competitive and attracting players from surrounding African countries. The league has managed to maintain a balance of homegrown talent and international players, enhancing the overall quality of play.
Cultural and technological advancements have contributed to the modern development of soccer in Ethiopia. Television broadcasts and live streaming platforms have made access to domestic and international games easier for Ethiopian football fans worldwide. This further fuels the passion and support for the sport in the country.
In recent decades, there has been an increased focus on youth development in Ethiopian soccer, with several academies emerging to train the next generation of players. These academies aim to instill fundamental technical and tactical skills as well as imparting valuable discipline in aspiring footballers, elevating Ethiopia’s performance on the international soccer stage.
#5 Soccer and the Olympics
While soccer has been a prominent fixture in the Olympic Games since the early 1900s, Ethiopia’s participation in Olympic soccer has been limited in comparison to other countries. Nonetheless, the Olympic soccer competition continues to represent a prestigious opportunity for Ethiopian players to compete on the global stage and gain international recognition.
As Ethiopian soccer grows and develops, the country’s involvement in Olympic soccer becomes increasingly significant. Participation in Olympic soccer competitions contributes to raising Ethiopia’s profile on the international soccer scene and inspires future generations of Ethiopian athletes to compete at the highest level.
#6 Famous Athletes and Achievements
- Yidnekachew Tessema: Considered the father of Ethiopian football, he played as a striker and later became a prominent administrator, significantly influencing Ethiopian soccer throughout his career.
- Mengistu Worku: Regarded as one of the all-time greats in Ethiopian soccer history, having scored crucial goals during Ethiopia’s victorious 1962 African Cup of Nations campaign.
- Saladin Said: A prolific forward, currently the top goal-scorer for the Ethiopian national team, and has enjoyed successful stints with clubs in Africa and Europe.
- Getaneh Kebede: One of Ethiopia’s prominent contemporary strikers, with numerous goals at both domestic and international levels, and a crucial figure for the national team.
#7 Where to watch Soccer
- Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) and SuperSport: Main platforms for broadcasting domestic Ethiopian Premier League matches and various international soccer events.
- International streaming platforms: Services like ESPN and Eurosport provide access to European leagues and international tournaments, including the English Premier League, UEFA Champions League, and African Cup of Nations.
- Live in Ethiopia: Watch thrilling live matches at notable stadiums such as Addis Ababa Stadium (Addis Ababa), Bahir Dar Stadium (Bahir Dar), and Hawassa Stadium (Hawassa).