Sudan have lost an appeal against Fifa’s decision to strip them of points for fielding an ineligible player in a 2014 World Cup qualifier against Zambia.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport on Wednesday rejected the Sudanese Football Association's appeal against an October ruling to award Zambia a 3-0 win by default.
According to CAS, Sudanese officials claimed they were not properly briefed about the status of Saif Ali hence they "couldn't be aware of the fact that" the player was ineligible for the match last June.
The ruling now puts Zambia on top of Group D with six points after two matches, and Sudan fall to third place with one point. Ghana have three points and last-place Lesotho have one.
Ali scored in Sudan's 2-0 win in Khartoum, four months after being sent off when his side faced the former Africa champions in an Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final. FIFA slapped a fine of $6,430 on Sudan plus the deduction of points when Zambia lodged a complaint.
"The CAS panel in charge of this case rejected the arguments of the SFA after noting that the secretariat of the Confederation of African Football had indeed informed the SFA that (Ali) would be suspended during the next official match of the national team," the court said. "In case of doubt, it should have verified the player's eligibility with the competent FIFA and/or CAF authorities."
Sudan is scheduled to meet Ghana on March 23 in Kumasi whiles Lesotho host Zambia in the next round of World Cup qualifiers.
The winners of 10 African qualifying groups advance to a final round in October and November. The five winners of home-and-away playoffs will represent Africa in Brazil at the global football fiesta.