Safa submit query to Fifa over Ethiopia

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Bafana_Ethiopia Gallo Images Bafana Bafana's Anele Ngcongca (right) in action against Ethipia in Addis Ababa. Picture: AFP PHOTO/Simon Maina/Gallo Images

Johannesburt – The South African Football Association confirmed on Wednesday that they have submitted a query to Fifa, asking whether Ethiopia could be forced to forfeit their victory over Bafana Bafana in Addis Ababa on Sunday.

Ethiopia are currently under investigation from world football’s governing body, for fielding an ineligible player, midfielder Minyehile Beyene, in their World Cup 2014 qualifier against Botswana on June 8. Benyene ought to have been serving a suspension in that match, having picked up yellow cards in two previous qualifiers, a fact already acknowledged by the Ethiopian football association.

The East Africans, whose victory over Bafana on Sunday seemed to have qualified them for the World Cup play-offs, are now almost certain to be docked three points by Fifa from the Botswana match, with Botswana handed a 3-0 win.

Safa, however, believe that the rules could also see Bafana handed the points and a 3-0 win from Sunday’s game.

“I have sent our query to Fifa, because the way we read the rules, the same player was fielded against us on Sunday, and there is a possibility Ethiopia could be deducted an extra three points,” said Safa CEO Dennis Mumble.

“But we do not want to second guess Fifa,” added Mumble.

It seems highly unlikely, however, that Fifa could apply their rules to punish Ethiopia for the Bafana game. The specific match that Beyene was suspended for was the game against Botswana, not the Bafana game, making the fact that he played against Bafana probably irrelevant.

Should Fifa decide to dock Ethiopia six points, it could put Bafana straight into the World Cup qualifying play-offs, with a four point lead at the top of the group. A more likely scenario, however, is that Bafana will start the final round of qualifiers two points behind Ethiopia, needing to beat Botswana at home, and hoping that Ethiopia do not win in the Central African Republic.

Mumble, meanwhile, met with Bafana coach Gordon Igesund, though his contract was not discussed. “I met Gordon today, and I will meet him again on Friday,” said Mumble. “It is an ongoing engagement between Gordon and I, after every match we sit down to chart the way forward. The next step in the process is … assessing what happened on Sunday and in the match against CAR, we are awaiting the final report from him on those matches.

“I will direct those into the organisation, to the technical committee or whoever else needs them. I was a bit surprised when I heard people talking about Gordon’s future. It was nothing like that, it was a normal engagement.” – The Star



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