(AP) — Ethiopia’s players were promised more than $100,000 each Wednesday if they win the African Cup of Nations on the country’s return to the tournament after a 30-year absence.
Ethiopia Football Federation president Sahilu Gebremariam said the players would get $111,000 each to win the Cup — a huge amount in the poverty-stricken country — and $55,000 each to make the final in South Africa.
Sahilu said coach Sewnet Bishaw and his assistant coach would be rewarded with “significantly higher prize money” if the team progressed to the final.
Ethiopia won the Cup of Nations in 1962 but last qualified for the final tournament in 1982. It was drawn alongside tough opposition in Nigeria, Zambia and Burkina Faso for this tournament and is not expected to get out of the group.
“It’s football, there is room for anything, any surprise,” Sewnet said. “Although it’s a new environment for the team, they have recently done wonderful in tough games.”
Sahilu said the offers were “intended to boost the morale of the team.”
“I am sure others, such as investors and prominent people, will offer them more prizes and awards if they make us proud in South Africa,” Sahilu said.
Squad members were already given $11,000 each last weekend by Ethiopian-born Saudi billionaire Sheikh Mohammed Al-Amoudi for qualifying for the African Cup.
“The players know more is coming if they play their best during the competition,” Sewnet said.