Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund has welcomed Fifa’s decision to sanction the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) for fielding an ineligible player in their match against Botswana last month.
Igesund said the decision gave South Africa another chance to book their place in next year’s World Cup in Brazil.
“We welcome the decision, which I believe was expected,” Igesund said in a statement today.
“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 on 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.”
Fifa announced today that Ethiopia were found guilty of fielding an illegible player, Minyahile Teshome Beyene, in a previous qualifying match against Botswana, and were docked three points.
“The match is declared to be forfeited and awarded 3-0 in favour of Botswana,” Fifa said in a statement.
Bafana had lost 2-1 to Ethiopia in a World Cup qualifier in Addis Ababa last month.
And while the Ethiopians drew five points clear at the top of Group A, seemingly securing their place in the third and final round of African qualifying, the sanction handed down to the Walia Antelopes opened the door for South Africa to stay in the running.
Bafana would remain second in the Group A standings in the second round of African qualifying, Fifa confirmed, but drew within two points of Ethiopia with one round of matches to play.
Botswana, in third place, also rejoined the race for a place in the next round, one point behind South Africa.
Bafana must win their final pool match against Botswana at home in September, and hope that Central African Republic either beat Ethiopia or hold them to a draw, in order to book their place in the next round.
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