World Cup: Ethiopia lose points for fielding ineligible player

Minyahil Teshome Beyene

Ethiopia have had to forfeit a win over Botswana in a 2014 World Cup qualifier after Fifa ruled the Walya Antelopes fielded an ineligible player.

Minyahil Teshome Beyene should have missed the match having picked up two yellow cards in previous qualifiers.

Fifa overturned the original 2-1 win for Ethiopia in the 8 June match and handed Botswana a 3-0 victory.

It means Ethiopia's Group A rivals South Africa and Botswana are now in with a chance of progressing.

The Ethiopia Football Federation has also been fined US$ 6,300 for the breach of Fifa's disciplinary code.

President of the Ethiopia Football Federation, Sahilu Gebremariam, had already told BBC Sport that there will be no appeal against the decision.

He admitted "it's a management blunder" and said "we have accepted the Fifa discipline issue".

Although Ethiopia remain top of their group, they now lead 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa by only two points going into the final round of matches in September.

South Africa coach Gordon Igesund said in a statement issued through the national football association: "The decision gives us a second bite at the cherry.

"We have to beat Botswana and hope Ethiopia lose or draw against the Central African Republic."

Botswana would also have an outside chance of finishing top on goal difference.

To do that they would have win in South Africa and hope Ethiopia lost away to Central African Republic in the final group matches.

If that were to happen Botswana and Ethiopia would be level on 10 points and goal difference would decide who progressed.

Only the 10 group winners from the second round advance to contest in the final two-legged play-offs to decide the five nations who will qualify for Brazil 2014.

Fifa is also investigating Togo and Equatorial Guinea for allegedly fielding ineligible players in qualifying, which could throw their groups into chaos.

Togo could forfeit its 2-0 win over Cameroon in Group I, which would put Cameroon above Libya and in pole position to take that group's spot in the play-offs.

And Equatorial Guinea could forfeit points to Cape Verde in Group B, meaning Tunisia's progress to the play-offs is not yet certain.

Sudan and Gabon have already forfeited games in the World Cup qualifying competition for ineligible players.

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