Monday, 17 June 2013

Proof that should cheer all Bafana Bafana fans: why Ethiopia WILL lose three points in CAF World Cup qualifying Group A.

Booked up: Minyahile Teshome Beyene's yellow cards
(with thanks to Joe Crann/Laduma)

THERE’S no getting around the fact South Africa’s highly-paid footballers were beaten 2-1 by Ethiopia’s highly-enthusiastic semi-professionals in Addis Ababa on Sunday.

It’s not as if Bafana Bafana were outplayed. Bernard Parker’s exquisite opener was cancelled out by the Lions just before half-time but for most of the second period it was Gordon Igesund’s men who looked the more likely to take the three points necessary to (hopefully) qualify for the World Cup in Brazil next year.

But then came that unbelievable own goal from Parker – videos of his headed effort from 18 yards past Kaizer Chiefs’ club-mate Itumeleng Khune have flashed around the world – and as Igesund told me after the game: “You simply can’t legislate for that kind of thing, you know.”

But now we have a development. Shortly after the game, I found this statement on the official FIFA website while having a look at the miserable Group A table: “FIFA can confirm that disciplinary proceedings have been opened against three member associations for each having allegedly fielded an ineligible player in the preliminary competition for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil."

Togo and Guinea were mentioned, but this is the sentence that drew my eye: “The Ethiopian Football Association allegedly fielded an ineligible player in the match between Botswana and Ethiopia on 8 June 2013."

And then we were off. A quick check of Ethiopia’s team in their opening matches revealed that Minyahile Teshome Beyene is the man in question. And here's why.

He was booked in Ethiopia’s first game against South Africa in June2012 and in their third, against Botswana at home in March; the little yellow cards appear clear as a bell next to his name. As in any group qualifying format under FIFA rules, Beyene should have been suspended for his nation’s next game, the vital away win in Botswana.

But he wasn’t. Somebody made a boo-boo. Perhaps, with AFCON between the two cautions, the first card had been forgotten. As I thrashed twitter with this information, a fuming Igesund – with his head on the block in Addis Ababa - sent me a link to the original FIFA story.

I immediately informed him of my findings. Open and shut case. Under under FIFA Disciplinary Code 55, sanction for fielding an "ineligible" or banned player is 3pts deduction and a €6000 fine. Suddenly, the door to Brazil had been re-opened. Just a touch.

On the telephone after frantic SMSes, Gordon said: "If we'd known about this BEFORE the game I would have played for the draw! I went out trying to win, we played a very open style. I don’t believe this!”

Igesund, still raging after a game which saw a frequent flow of nasty challenges, added: "Dean Furman was spat at, right in the face and their number five was BOOKED TWICE and not sent off!

“And what about that unbelievable own goal? Look, I’ve got to congratulate Ethiopia for the win. Only now we might still have some hope, better to have a slight chance than none at all when we play Botswana in our last game."

If Ethiopia ARE deducted three points (and the usual 3-0 defeat), it means Bafana must beat Botswana in their final game at home and hope Ethiopia draw in the Central African Republic (or at a neutral venue given the troubles in Bangui), both games due to be played on September 6. Goal difference will put South Africa through in that situation.

Then there are the play-offs, five of them, pitting groups winners against group winners, a peculiar torture unique to Africa. Teams like Algeria, the Ivory Coast, Egypt and Tunisia will go in to the hat along with (probably) Libya, Nigeria, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Ghana. But a glimmer of hope, as Gordon said, is better than none.

Kirsten Nematandani, the SAFA president, yesterday confirmed he would “wait patiently” for the results of the FIFA investigation. And he insisted: “We had nothing to do with the naming of this player.”

The social networks have been abuzz since I broke this story on Sunday night with Gordon’s quotes – as I write, over 5,000 have “hit” the story on my blog ( but a warning: also contains video of THAT Parker own goal). Many suggest Ethiopia are full value to go to Brazil next year, that they don’t deserve Bafana to sneak past on a technicality.

I’m not one of them. Ethiopia used every trick in the book on Sunday. As Dean Furman and Itumeleng Khune. If – and it’s still a sizeable if – Bafana end up on top of Group A on September 6, I will weep no tears for the Ethiopians. This is about attitude, not altitude.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. South Africa are bitter losers.. You guys suck, go home. No one wants you in Brazil. You guys think you're good in football but actually you're not! GOD BLESS ETHIOPIA! go suck a dick

    2. Banana Banana won't qualify

  2. another sore loser...he won't just spit at that fakeman for nothing..

  3. eat your heart bafana bafana. we will crash central Africa. shame on you with all these infrastructure and academies, you can not even beat the 105th rank Ethiopia.