Bafana Bafana head coach Gordon Igesund has welcomed the decision from the world football governing body, FIFA regarding the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in which it sanctioned the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) for fielding an ineligible player in their match against Botswana last month.
Igesund added that the decision gives South Africa another chance in the competition.
“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 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,” said Igesund.
In a statement, FIFA confirmed it has sanctioned the EFF for fielding an ineligible player in the preliminary competition match for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ between Botswana and Ethiopia played in Lobatse on 8 June 2013. Ethiopia won the game 2-1 but the match has now been awarded to Botswana following the 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).”
The decision by FIFA means South Africa still has a chance to proceed to the play-offs of the qualifiers if they beat Botswana in the last game and Ethiopia fails to beat the Central African Republic.
“We accept and welcome the announcement by FIFA,” said 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.
“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 (match against 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. South Africa will have to beat Botswana in September and hope that the Central Africa Republic (CAR) draws against or beats Ethiopia in the other match.