By THEODROS YESHIAREGA, Correspondent JULY 19, 2015
The 13th Ethiopian sport and cultural festival in Europe concluded in Frankfurt, Germany on July 18. As the seat of the winning team of the football final, London will host the 2016 annual event. Germany has hosted the festival for two years in a row after winning the match in both 2013 and 2014.
The event, which was held for the 13th time, was organized by the Ethiopian Sport and Cultural Federation in Europe (ESCFE). It kicked off colorfully on July 15, 2015 in the presence of special guests of honor including the likes of Seyoum Abate, ex-Ethiopian footballer/coach; famous national footballer Adane Girma; and ex-Ethiopian national team football player Daniel Asgedom.
The three-day festival showcased soccer, athletics, music, cultural performances and other recreational activities, entertaining thousands of Ethiopian diaspora and their friends of other nationalities from around Europe. The festive atmosphere was amplified by Ethiopians selling traditional Ethiopian food, souvenirs, and other services in tents around the stadium.
The festival ended with a first division soccer match finale with the Ethio-London team defeating Ethio-Norway 6-5 in a thrilling penalty shootout. In the second division Ethio-Emilia beat Ethio Abebe Bikila 2-1. More than two-dozen soccer teams from various European countries and cities competed in three divisions.
The Ethio-Zürich youth football team were crowned champions in the under-14 age group after defeating its opponent, Ethio-Swiss. Meanwhile, Ethio-Germany Russelsheim kids’ soccer team took the crown in the U-10 category by defeating Ethio-Swiss.
The festival concluded with a performance by Ethiopian pop-star Tewodros Kassahun.
About the Federation
The ESCFE is a non-profit organization which was founded in Rotterdam, Holland in 2002. It’s aim is to use sports to bring all Ethiopians and those of Ethiopian origin together, and through the pursuit of sports to promote a sense of one Ethiopian family without any gender, religion, ethnic or political prejudice.
While Ethiopian Airlines was the main sponsor of this year’s event, the ESCFE also introduced a 5 Euro entrance fee on two days. Funds collected from entrance fees are meant to help support participating teams financially, to ease the financial burden on the federation in future, and to strengthen children’s activity programs.
Further, the funds will help cover the costs of hosting the guests of honor and providing prizes for the winners.
The Federation stated on its website that even though it succeeded in achieving some of its main objectives, it has a long way to go before it fully realize its ambitions.