Fifa’s concern over Africa’s ineligible players

2013-09-21 09:25

Africa’s problem with ineligible players will be addressed by Fifa after the world body opened nine cases during the continent’s World Cup qualifiers and has punished seven countries so far by forcing them to forfeit games. An eighth country is under investigation.

Fifa director of competitions Mustapha Fahmy, an Egyptian and former secretary general of Africa’s football body, said yesterday “possible solutions” will be discussed with member associations after Africa’s qualifying competition for Brazil was littered with cases.

“Fifa will aim to provide means and ways to help so that we address something that obviously went wrong,” Fahmy said in an interview on the Confederation of African Football website.

“We work to make sure we deliver successful events.”

Burkina Faso, Sudan, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Togo and Cape Verde Islands all forfeited games for fielding ineligible players, with Cape Verde losing its place in the final World Cup playoffs for fielding a player while he was meant to be suspended. Equatorial Guinea was punished for offending twice.

Liberia is the latest to be investigated after a case was opened against it by Fifa on Thursday and Fahmy said the problem appeared to be isolated to Africa.

“We have noted with some concern what has happened with a number of teams falling foul to the rules of the competition, which are clearly spelt out,” Fahmy said. “This only happened with one continent, Africa, and others like Europe, Asia or South America did not experience the same problems where disciplinary action had to be taken. We have been saying we need to look into what happened.”

While Cape Verde paid the biggest price for playing defender Fernando Varela in a decisive 2-0 win over Tunisia, which it later forfeited to be thrown out the playoffs, Ethiopia also nearly didn’t progress after mistakenly fielding suspended midfielder Minyahile Beyene, for which it was stripped of a win against Botswana.

The Ethiopian federation said officials “forgot” Minyahile was suspended and the country’s football leadership promised not to stand for re-election later this year because of the error.

Like Ethiopia, Burkina Faso came through a forfeited game to make the decisive 10-team playoffs and have a chance at a first World Cup appearance and Fahmy still welcomed the progress of those two despite their earlier sanctions.

“It is interesting and l think the playoffs will provide some good matches,” Fahmy said. “It is also good to have new sides like Ethiopia and Burkina Faso competing at this level.”

Africa’s final two-legged playoffs to decide its five teams at the World Cup begin next month.

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.