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Pretoria - Bafana Bafana’s dreams of playing in the 2014 FIFA World Cup were revived on Monday when the world football governing body, FIFA, deducted three points from Ethiopia for fielding an ineligible player in a World Cup qualifier against Botswana last month.

“The match is declared to be forfeited and awarded 3-0 in favour of Botswana, with the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) also receiving a fine of 6 000 Swiss Francs (R65 200).

“The sanctions relate to the Ethiopian player, Minyahile Teshome Beyene, failing to serve the automatic one-match suspension imposed on him following two cautions received in two different matches,” said the global football governing body in a statement.

The Ethiopians, who are now leading the group with 10 points, also fielded Beyene when they beat Bafana 2-1 in Addis Ababa last month.

Bafana Bafana head coach Gordon Igesund has welcomed FIFA’s decision, adding that the decision gives South Africa another chance in the competition.

“We welcome the decision, which I believe was expected. It was never in doubt because rules are rules. In our view, it is a correct decision.

“The decision also gives us a second bite on the cherry. We now have to beat Botswana and hope Ethiopia loses or draws against Central African Republic. But I am very pleased with the outcome,” said Igesund.

South African Football Association (Safa) CEO Dennis Mumble said: “Regarding our issue where we also wrote to them (FIFA) about the same player featuring in our match having not served his suspension, we were not looking for three points but were just inquiring about the status of the player in the qualifiers.

“We would also like to reiterate our coach’s views that there is now much more to play for in the qualifiers as we believe we stand a good chance of proceeding to the next round of play-offs, even though it must be noted that it’s no longer in our hands.

“But we will go there (match against Botswana) and do the best we can, and hope for a favourable result in the other match.”

Bafana Bafana are now two points behind Group A leaders Ethiopia, with one round of group stages matches remaining.

South Africa will have to beat Botswana in September and hope that the Central African Republic draws against or beats Ethiopia in the other match. -