The Ethiopian national team made its debut in September 2002 in the 2002 African Championship's qualifiers, beating Uganda to progress to the final tournament, where it ended last in its group, only grasping a tie with Mali. It subsequently played the 2003 All-Africa Games, losing all three games.
In 2004 they again qualified for the African Championship, where they made it to the semifinals after beating South Africa and drawing with Zimbabwe. After being knocked out by Nigeria, they lost the bronze to Ghana on penalties. As of 2013 it remains Ethiopia's best performance in the competition.
Ethiopia withdrew from the 2006 African Championship, and it didn't take part in the 2008 edition either. However it did take part in the 2007 All-Africa Games, losing its two games. In its return to the African Championship in 2010 it was defeated in the qualifiers by Tanzania. On the other hand in the 2012 Summer Olympics qualifiers Ethiopia made it to the final round after knocking out Congo DR and Ghana, ultimately losing an spot in the Olympics to South Africa.
In 2012 the team qualified for the African Championship 8 years later, settling the score with Tanzania. It didn't manage to score, only grasping a draw with Cameroon.