Sewnet Bishaw has shrugged off Ethiopia's underdog status ahead of their clash with Zambia

Last Updated: 20/01/13 3:19pm

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Zambia: Begin their title defence against Ethiopia

Zambia: Begin their title defence against Ethiopia

Sky Bet

Ethiopia coach Sewnet Bishaw has shrugged off his side's underdog status on the eve of their return to the finals of the African Nations Cup for the first time in more than 30 years.

The lowest-ranked of all the finalists at 110 in the FIFA rankings, Ethiopia won the tournament in 1962 but have not made it past the qualifying stages since 1982.

And they could not face a more daunting start in Group C as they face reigning champions Zambia, who are aiming to become only the fourth team to retain the trophy.

Bishaw, whose side won their final pre-tournament friendly 2-1 against Tanzania earlier this month, said: "Our confidence is sky-high.

"We are looking at going as far as we can with our first aim being the quarter-finals."

Zambia coach Herve Renard, who has a full-strength squad to choose from, has also warned his side must be careful not to underestimate the Ethiopian threat.

The Zambians do not enter the tournament in the best of form, having failed to win any of their last six friendly matches, while a scheduled warm-up clash with Namibia this month was cancelled.

Renard said: "They (Ethiopia) have a lot of skilled players able to run right to the end.

"We have to be very careful about this team. It is going to be a very tough match for us."

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