Ethiopia switch a major blow – Igesund

2013-08-16 16:09

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Fifa’s decision to switch the crucial World Cup qualifying game between Ethiopia and Central African Republic (CAR) from the CAR’s stronghold in Bangui to neutral Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo is a major blow for South Africa, said Gordon Igesund.

The Bafana coach said they were relying on Ethiopia either drawing or losing for South Africa to remain in the running for next year’s tournament in Brazil.

“Unfortunately, we are not the masters of our own fate going into our last game – with Ethiopia holding a two-point advantage over us right now,” Igesund said.

“The switch in venue works strongly in their favour.”

The change in venue was a major boost for Ethiopia, who would ensure entry into the final stage of the African World Cup qualifying by beating the CAR.

At the same time, it would prove a death knell for Bafana’s prospects no matter what the result in their final group qualifying game against Botswana, played simultaneously in Durban on September 7.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding the political unrest in the CAR forced Fifa to switch the venue as they did when Bafana played the CAR away.

Fifa moved the game to neutral Yaounde, in the Cameroon, and Bafana won the match 3-0 instead of confronting the CAR in Bangui where the home side had not been beaten in years.

In addition, Fifa had decided the final African World Cup qualifying round, in which 10 group winners would compete on a home-and-away basis for five places in Brazil, would be based on a seeding system.

Based on their current world ranking of 67th, Bafana would not receive one of the five seedings even if they overcame the Ethiopian hurdle, with their potential opponents in the final showdown quite likely coming from formidable teams like Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Tunisia and Algeria.

“World Cup qualification has always been an uphill battle.” said Igesund.

“Right from the time I took over, after Bafana had already dropped four points they should have amassed from the home draw against Ethiopia and a second draw against Botswana.

“Despite two of our last three qualifying games being staged away from home, we’ve done well to claim six more points.

“Now all we can do is concentrate on earning three more points against Botswana at Moses Mabhida Stadium – and hold thumbs that the switch to Brazzaville does not help Ethiopia to a win over CAR.”

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.