Fenlon flabbergasted by reports

Fenlon flabbergasted by reports

Published Jan. 24, 2013 1:15 p.m. ET

Ethiopia coach Swenet Bishaw has backed his team's fans ahead of the African Nations Cup Group C clash with Burkina Faso, despite the fine imposed for bad behaviour against Zambia.

Ethiopia fans reacted angrily to the sending off of Jemal Tassew, throwing missiles on to the pitch after the goalkeeper was shown a red card while being carried from the field on a stretcher.

Tassew was shown the red card after aiming a flying kick at Zambia's Chisamba Lungu and has been handed a two-match ban by the Confederation of African Football for violent conduct.

The Ethiopian federation was also fined 10,000 US dollars, half of it suspended, after fans threw missiles on to the pitch in protest at Tassew's dismissal.


Bishaw backed the fans, saying: "The reaction of the fans is normal because they are supporting their boys. They want their team to win.

"When things don't go their way, they react," Bishaw was quoted as saying on the tournament website.

Despite the dismissal, which will see Tassew banned for the Burkina Faso game, Ethiopia claimed a draw when Adane Girma scored and Bishaw will look for the same commitment on Friday.

Bishaw believes his players can make their mark in the tournament despite their lack of experience at this level.

He told reporters: "Even though we are new, we are here to challenge every team. As long as we are here as a strong team, why can't we go to the cup final? We will try to reach that."

Burkina Faso coach Paul Put will be looking to build on the 1-1 draw with Nigeria in their opening match of the competition.

Having only gotten out of the group stages once before the West African side need to take a win against Ethiopia after Alain Traore's late goal earned them a point against Nigeria.

Following the draw with Nigeria, Put turned his attentions to Ethiopia.

In quotes on the kickoff.com website, he said: "This was a very good result for us and I am looking forward to the game against Ethiopia."

The Easter Road boss was responding to press speculation which suggested he was preparing swoops for a number of players, including former Rangers winger Gregg Wylde and St Mirren's Scotland Under-21 midfielder Kenny McLean.

But Fenlon insists most of the names which have appeared in print are not on his wish list.

He said: "I've seen one or two of the stories about people we have been linked with, but I don't know where they have come from.

"It amazes me when you get linked with talking to people and offering pre-contracts to people when you haven't even looked at them.

"Anything we are trying to do, we will keep it in-house. As soon as there is anything to know, we will let the supporters know."

The Irishman did, however, concede he would like to add at least two new faces to his squad.

St Johnstone's Liam Craig has already agreed a summer switch but is "unlikely" to move to Edinburgh this month, leaving Fenlon to start his search for possible replacements for Ivan Sproule - who has joined Ross County after he was released by Hibs - and Jorge Claros, who could be recalled by Honduran parent club Motagua.

Fenlon, speaking ahead of Sunday's trip to face Aberdeen at Pittodrie, explained: "We have lost Ivan Sproule and would like to strengthen that area.

"We also have the Jorge situation, which has yet to be resolved, and would like to bring some cover in for that position.

"But in relation to everyone else I'm fairly comfortable with what we have."