2 July 2013
Bafana Bafana’s 2014 Fifa World Cup dream is not yet over. The world governing body handed the South African national team a lifeline on Monday when it sanctioned the Ethiopian Football Federation for fielding an ineligible player against Botswana last month.
Bafana coach Gordon Igesund reacted to the decision, saying: “We welcome the decision, which I believe was expected. It was never in doubt because rules are rules, so in our view it is a correct decision.
“The decision also gives us a second bite of the cherry. We now have to beat Botswana and hope Ethiopia loses or draws against Central African Republic. But I am very pleased with the outcome.”
In a statement, Fifa confirmed its sanction of Ethiopia for fielding an ineligible player in the match between Botswana and Ethiopia played in Lobatse on 8 June. Ethiopia won the game 2-1, but the match has now been awarded to Botswana following a Fifa disciplinary committee hearing.
“The match is declared to be forfeited and awarded 3-0 in favour of Botswana, with the EFF also receiving a fine of R60 000 after the Fifa Disciplinary Committee considered the EFF liable for having breached article 55 paragraph 1 of the Fifa Disciplinary Code and article 8 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ Regulations,” read the statement.
“The sanction relates to the Ethiopian player Minyahile Teshome Beyene failing to serve the automatic one-match suspension imposed on him following two cautions received in two different matches (article 17 paragraph 3 of the Fifa Disciplinary Code).”
“We accept and welcome the announcement by Fifa,” said South African Football Association (Safa) CEO Dennis Mumble.
“Regarding our issue where we also wrote to them (Fifa) about the same player featuring in our match having not served his suspension, we were not looking for three points but were just inquiring about the status of the player in the qualifiers,” Mumble said.
“We would also like to reiterate our coach’s views that there is now much more to play for in the qualifiers as we believe we stand a good chance of proceeding to the next round of play-offs, even though it must be noted that it’s no longer in our hands. But we will go there [Botswana] and do the best we can, and hope for a favourable result in the other match.”
Bafana Bafana are now two points behind Group A leaders Ethiopia, with one round of group stages matches remaining.
However, South Africa’s goal difference is superior to that of the Walia Antelopes, and should the teams finish level on points, with a Bafana Bafana win and Ethiopian draw in the final round of matches, South Africa would, according to the Fifa World Cup rules, advance to the next round of qualifying.
The last round of matches takes place on 6 September, with Bafana at home to Botswana and Ethiopia away to the Central African Republic.
SAinfo reporter and South African Football Association