Bafana could be handed 3 points

COSTLY GAMBLE: Ethiopia  fielded suspended  star midfielder Minyahile Teshome Beyene  in two World Cup  qualifiers 
      Photo: Gallo Images
COSTLY GAMBLE: Ethiopia fielded suspended star midfielder Minyahile Teshome Beyene in two World Cup qualifiers Photo: Gallo Images

SOUTH Africa could get a further boost in their seemingly doomed bid to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil next year with Ethiopia potentially set to lose the points from their win over Bafana Bafana on Sunday as well.

Fifa is already investigating the eligibility of midfielder Minyahile Beyene for the 2-1 victory in Botswana on June 8. The player should have been suspended for the fixture, having picked up two yellow cards in the qualification campaign, according to official match reports seen by Times Media.

With plenty of precedence in this regard, it would seem highly likely that Ethiopia's error in fielding him will cost them the points from the match against The Zebras.

But Times Media has been told that also having fielded the same player against South Africa in the 2-1 win on Sunday, and with him having yet to officially serve his one-match suspension, the East African side should lose those three points as well.

Former NSL referee Colin Knott, a leading whistleman in the 1980s, certainly believes this to be the case and says that if Fifa does not take action themselves, Safa should launch a complaint.

"It is clear that by fielding the player [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 said.

A look through the Fifa regulations does not make mention of the above scenario and gives no guidelines on what action to take.

Contacted by Times Media, Fifa would not comment on the matter while it is still under review, referring us back to the organisation's Disciplinary Code documents, which provide no clarity.

PSL general manager Derek Blanckensee told Times Media that had the situation played out in the domestic league, the matter would have gone to a Disciplinary Committee hearing, where a ruling would have been made.

But he added that there was also no hard and fast guideline in the PSL statutes either relating to this particular matter and that each case would be dealt with on its merits by the DC.

If Ethiopia lose the six points gained in their matches against Botswana and South Africa, it would be a game changer in the pool.

It would place Bafana Bafana at the top of the pool, a point ahead of Ethiopia in the group, meaning a win in their final qualifier against Botswana in September would seal passage to the next stage.

As things stand South Africa are out of contention, but with Ethiopia almost certain to lose the Botswana points, Gordon Igesund's team may have a lifeline.

In that scenario they trail Ethiopia by two points, meaning they need to beat Botswana and hope the Ethiopians get no more than a point away to Central African Republic in their final qualifier.