Bafana could find themselves top of Group A, if Ethiopia lose six points after Fifa concludes their on-going investigation over fielding an ineligible player
With Ethiopia under investigation for fielding an ineligible player against Botswana on June 8, the Walia Antelopes are certain to be docked three points, gained from that match, should they be found guilty.
The Ethiopian Football Federation president Sahilu Gebremariam has admitted that the player in question (Minyahile Beyene) was fielded mistakenly, and he also added they are not going to appeal the outcome of Fifa on the matter.
However, the Ethiopians could lose yet another three points gained against South Africa on June 16, as the same player who was supposed to be suspended for the Botswana game, continued to play against Bafana.
This might be seen as an offence and a possible loss of three points for the Walia Antelopes who could then lose six points after the investigation and they could find themselves with only seven points, one behind Bafana in Group A.
Former NSL referee Colin Knot believes the Ethiopians have violated the suspension rules by fielding Beyene against Bafana, and he is certain that South Africa should also be given all three points.
“It is clear that by fielding the player (Minyahile Beyene), Ethiopia are still in violation of the rules, as he has not yet served his suspension. On that basis, the points from the game should go to South Africa,” Knott told Sowetan.
If all these hold water, then Bafana would require a victory against Botswana to secure their place in the qualifying playoffs of the 2013 Fifa World Cup.
It's been reported in most high profile media in South Africa that Ethiopia could lose six points for also fielding their suspended player against Bafana. The Fifa rules are not absolutely clear on this matter which is why Fifa will need to decide. Goal remains impartial on the case, not favouring either action, and like all media are simply reporting the possibilities that will be discussed in the case. It did seem more likely that only three points will be deducted. A South African referee and leading media pundits have also voiced their views and expert opinion about further deductions, but eventually only Fifa will make a fair judgment in the best interest of fair play to Ethiopia, South Africa and world football - Editor, Ignat Manjoo