Ethiopia’s World Cup qualifying campaign has been hit after they were docked three points by FIFA for fielding an ineligible player.
The offence relates to the selection of Minyahile Teshome Beyene during the 2-1 victory over Botswana on June 8, when he was included in the line-up despite being due to serve a one-match suspension for being shown two yellow cards in previous qualifying fixtures.
FIFA have now declared the match as forfeited, with Botswana handed a 3-0 victory.
That means 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa have been given a lifeline in their bid to make the finals in Brazil next year, as Ethiopia’s previously unassailable five-point lead at the top of Group A has now been cut to just two points.
Ethiopia defeated South Africa 2-1 in Addis Abeba on June 16 to seemingly reach the final round of African World Cup qualifying.
However, the rescinded result means that South Africa can still overhaul the group leaders in the final round of fixtures on September 6.
Ethiopia remain the favourites to qualify as they travel to fourth place Central African Republic, while South Africa host Botswana.