Ethiopia have picked Serbian Goran Stevanovic as the national side’s new coach, pending contract negotiations, the head of the Ethiopian Football Federation said on Tuesday.
Stevanovic, who previously coached Ghana and was assistant coach of Serbia and Montenegro, will replace Sewnet Bishaw, who was sacked in February after a dismal run at this year’s African Nations Championship (CHAN).
The 47-year old Serb is expected to arrive in Addis Ababa “soon” to discuss contract details with Ethiopian football’s governing body, federation boss Junedin Beshah said.
“We are looking for improvement. Otherwise, we would not have relieved of his duties a man who laid the foundations for our success,” Junedin told Reuters.
Sewnet was appointed as coach of the “Walyas” – named after an antelope endemic to the Horn of Africa country – in 2011 for his second spell in charge, and two years later clinched Ethiopia’s first African Cup of Nations slot in three decades.
Ethiopia’s fairytale run also saw them reach the final knockout round for a slot in Brazil in what would have been east Africa’s first-ever spot at a World Cup finals, but they lost over two legs against regional heavyweights Nigeria.
The Walyas’ fortunes took a turn for the worse at January’s CHAN – a competition for quasi-national teams made up of home-based players only – where they were eliminated without scoring a goal in three defeats.
The draw for next year’s African Cup of Nations will take place later this month. Ethiopia are amongst 21 countries that earned a bye to the group stages of the qualifiers.
The Walyas won their maiden African Cup of Nations in 1962 but have not lifted the trophy since. They have now re-established themselves in the continental fold after decades of poor results saw them last qualify to the tournament in 1982.