By Bongani Magasela
Addis Ababa - Ethiopia's soccer federation was on Sunday fined $2 000 (about R16 000) by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) for the unbefitting behaviour of the Ethiopian crowd during a match between Egypt and Cameroon at the Addis Ababa Stadium on Saturday.
Caf general secretary Mustapha Fahmy told the media after their meeting - attended by Caf president Issa Hayatou and first deputy presient Farra Ado at Sheraton Hotel - that the decision to fine the local football federation was taken by the organising committe after reports of the match officials.
The game contested in Group A ended prematurely in the 27th minutes of the first half after fans had invaded the pitch chasing players outside.
"The fine was imposed upon the Ethiopian Federation following the invasion of the field and the throwing of projectiles by the crowd," Fahmy said.
He said the match involving the two countries (Egypt and Cameroon) was considered null and void.
"We may not have a proper definition of cheating but it was obvious the two teams were playing for a draw and that is cheating," he said. "Their behaviour is attributed to cheating and it caused severe prejudice to the competition and therefore they will have no points - no goals for and no goals against. The two teams will instead play a rematch on Monday at the Abebe Bekela Stadium at 4pm," the Egyptian official said.
A draw would have been enough for both countries to proceed to the second round of the 12th African Youth Championship and would have also meant an automatic qualifier for the final in Argentina in June.
But for South Africa and hosts Ethiopia, it would have meant an exit.
South Africa's under-20 side, known as the Vodacom Amajita, was scheduled to meet Ethiopia later in the day, but will now play at the Addis Ababa Stadium on Monday at the same time as Cameroon and Egpyt at the Abebe Bikila Stadium, north of of Ethiopia at 3pm.
But Amajita or Ethiopia must now win by a 2-0 margin to qualify because it was announced that a draw between the two will send both Cameroon and Egypt through to the semifinal.
On the other hand, Cameroon and Egypt cannot afford to draw as Fahmy made it clear that if their rematch ended in a draw, penalties would then be taken to get a winner to determine which team takes the first position.
Then Amajita and Ethiopia will be contesting the second spot on the table.
Regarding the safety measures at both stadiums, Fahmy said the Ethiopian Federation had already been requested to beef up the security personnel in both grounds.
The change of venues is welcome, especially for the use of the Abebe Bikila Stadium, which was named after one of Africa's heroes - a legend in world athletics. He won the Olympic marathon in Rome when he ran barefoot in 1960, then came back for another marathon gold at Tokyo in 1964.
Meanwhile, South African freelance photographer Gavin Barker, who was manhandled and punched during the crowd unrest, was "as fit as a fiddle" on Sunday. "My jaw is still sore, but I'm okay," he said. - Sapa