Ethiopian soccer legend Mengistu Worku passed away

Ethiopian soccer legend Mengistu Worku who helped Ethiopia win the 3rd African Cup has passed away.

Memorial service for him will be held on Friday in Addis Ababa at the St. Petros Church where he will be laid to rest.

The following is a brief biography of Mengistu Worku (Sources: Wikipedia, Facebook, Ethiopian Review archive).

Mengistu Worku was an Ethiopian footballer, recognized as one of the best football players in Ethiopia’s history.

He is most popularly known for scoring 2 goals in the final of the 3rd African cup against Egypt, when Ethiopia won their only major trophy to date by defeating Egypt 4-2.

Mengistu Worku with the Ethiopian national team that won the 3rd African Cup (1962). L. to R. standing: Luciano Vassalo (captain), Awad Mohammed, Tesfaye GebreMedhin, Berhe Goytom, Asmelash Berhe, Kiflom Araya, Gashe Tilahun (trainer); L. to R. sitting: Girma Zeleke, Gila-Michael T. Mariam, Italo Vassalo, Getachew Wolde, Mengistu Worku.

Mengistu finished as top scorer of that tournament with 3 goals. He debuted with Saint-George SA in 1957 and remained with the club for the entirety of his career.

Ethiopians in Europe honor heroes of the 3rd African Cup Mengistu Worku and Luciano Vassalo (Sweden, 2008)

Mengistu was given numerous offers to play professionally for teams in Italy and France, as well as Egypt’s El Zamalek, but like earlier legend and coach Ydnekatchew, he refused all offers and stayed in Ethiopia wearing Saint George’s characteristic “V” across his chest.

Mengistu Worku with former team mate and captain of the victorious 3rd African Cup Ethiopian national team Luciano Vassallo (1991)

Mengistu wore the number 8 for the entirety of his club and national team career. His international career began in 1958 and ended in 1970, following disappointment in the 7th African Nations cup in Sudan, where Ethiopia finished bottom of their group. He still managed to score 3 goals, the only Ethiopian goals in that tournament.

Mengistu played 2 more years with Saint George, retiring in 1972. He is the seventh-highest scorer in the history of the African Cup Of Nations with 10 goals.

Members of the Ethiopian National team celebrate their 3rd African Cup title

Mengistu coached the national team after retirement, but the team failed to match the success it found during his playing days. He did, however, coach the country to their first-ever CECAFA cup title in 1987, when the tournament was hosted by Ethiopia.

1960s Ethiopian national team arrives in Moscow. Mengistu Worku is on the right.

In 2001, Mengistu was struck by a tumor, and doctors had told him he had only months to live. With treatment unavailable in Ethiopia, the Ethiopian billionaire Mohammed Al Amoudi paid for Mengistu to travel to South Africa for treatment. “It was because of Al Amoudi that I am standing before you today,” he said on Ethiopian television.

The 1968 Ethiopian National team. First row, left to right: Abdulrahman "Pache", Haile Tesfa-Gabir, Girma Asmerom, Luciano Vassalo, Col. Tamrat Yigezu (President of Ethiopian Football Federation), Yidnekachew Tessema, Gashe Tilahun, Bereket Amde-Michael, Getachew Dula, Getachew Wolde, Adamu Alemu (assistant coach); Second row: Tesfaye Bahire (assistant coach), Mengistu Worku, Tekeda Alemu, Shewangizaw Agonafer, Getachew Gelashe, Hailu Abebe Woldegiorgis; 3rd row: AmdeMichael, Kiflom Araya, Yohannes Tiliku, Abraha Araya, Tesfaye Gebremedhin, Berhe Goytom; 4th row: Eshetu GebreHiwot, BekureTsion GebreHiwot, Fisseha WoldeAmanuel, Milosevic (head coach), Getachew Abdo; Last row: Nega WoldeSelassie

At the 2002 CECAFA Cup, Mengistu was honored before the tournament kickoff by the Council for East and Central Africa Football Association, along with five other east African footballers and three referees, including Tesfaye Gebreyesus, the Ethiopian who refereed at three ACN tournaments.

30 thoughts on “Ethiopian soccer legend Mengistu Worku passed away

  1. Getachew on

    May his soul rest in peace.
    I wish all his family members and loved ones to get the kind of strength that Mengistu had been inspiring on others throughout his life .

  2. proud ET on

    Remember the game in Asmara between Hamasein and Qdus Giyorgis. That one was one hell of a game. Mengstu Worku is a real lagend. you’r the mannnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.

  3. Anonymous on

    This is a loss of a real Ethiopian soccer hero, a loss that resonates to posterity. Mengistu is the major contributor to the only Soccer victory that four generation of Ethiopians are proud of. I remember, I was in 2nd grade when the radio called his name thousand times —- መንግስቱ ይዟል…. መንግስቱ ….መንግስቱ…….መንግስቱ ይዟል …..እያታለለ ነዉ …. አሁንም እያታለለ ነዉ….አለፈ መንግሰቱ አለፈ
    አደገኛ ነዉ ….መንግሰቱ አለፈ …አለፈ.. ጎ…………………ል ጨዋታዉ በተጀመረ…… Thank you Mnege, I can never forget this.

  4. It is a very sad day for Ethiopian football.I had the privilege to be coached
    by the true legend in St.George & the National team.Mengestu Worku was not only
    a great player but also a great charismatic
    human being.The only other time I felt this
    bad for missing some body’s funeral was my
    mom’s.I pray God to give his family the
    strength while going through this difficult
    Thanks for the pictures.

  5. Anonymous on

    It’s a sad sad day!! My deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Mengistu Worku. This man was accomplished footballer, great coach and mentor to many young players. As a teenager, I was previlaged to be coached by him and learned so much about life. He may be gone, but his legend will live with us forever. Rest In Peace Coach Mingistu! -Dawit Hailab

  6. Haile Tefera on

    Mengistu Worku was a national hero. He will be missed. In 1985 at the 3rd ESFNA event in Atlanta,Mengistu Worku was the Gust of honor. He also participated by attending the 25th anniversary of ESFNA at RFK stadium in Washington DC in 2008.
    Mengistu will be missed. May his soul rest in peace.


  7. kitcho on

    RIP Mengistu, Indeed you were a legend and will be missed by everyone, who knows or don’t know you

  8. Hi Haile!It was 1986 instead of 1985 that
    coach Mengestu was guest of honor.By the way,
    I am listening to some of your discussions
    in the radio;keep up the good work.

  9. It is inevitable that we all leave this earth one day be it at a young, middle and old age. The point is what do we leave behind? Yednekachew Tesema is an Ethiopian hero who left a great legend behind by which he will be rememberd for ever. May God bless him!

  10. Almazzea on

    Well, he was amongst the best Ethiopians his name deserves to be placed with Yidnekachew Tessema, Mamo Wolde, Abebe Bekilla and Miruts Yifter. These Ethiopians contributed greatly to Ethiopia’s sports.


  11. TEWODROS on



  12. Tameirat Mamo on

    I was deeply saddened to hear about the death of Mengistu Worku.When I was a national team player, he was my coach. He touched so many people.
    There will never be another one like him.

    May God bless him and his family.

  13. DillingerJ1 on

    May his soul rest in peace Worku M.Abyssinians contribution is the great length to please.The Abyssinian Experiance.

  14. Essey Kebede on

    Mengistu Worku, the greatest Ethiopian footballer of all time!!!!

    May Your Soul Rest in Peace

  15. Shaebia on

    RIP Mengistu Worku, who was an agile & a lightening fast striker.
    Proud ET #9, can yo. Share with us the memory of Qdus Ghiorgis Vs Hamassein where Abraha Araya & Gillai of his national team teammates played against Mengistu Worku’s St. George, which I grow up supporting in the 80’s when Mengistu Worku was the coach of st George.

  16. Anonymous on

    R.I.P.Megistu Worku,in the 60Ti’s & 70ts growing up in Asmara the biggest action in town was those games between kudus giorgis vs. hamassien(Asmara club)it was more like war between Ethiopia & Eritrea.But one thing is for sure we all admired & worried every time Mengistu WOrku touched the ball,for that i say thank you Mengistu for the memories & the rollercoaster ride you took me in my young years.

  17. Pure Eritrean on

    It so Sad to hear a legend football player die. Not to mention 8 out of the first eleven( Starters) were Eritrean.

  18. mot ayqer on

    God rest ur soul menge ,realy u were a hero of football to our nation, by the way when i read the name Gebru it reminds me my childhood hero and very humble player of Gebru W.Amanuel, is that u?if u r the one u were my hero with ur friends seven tesfa, ayaya arega,sebsbe aseffa and others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.