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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.