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Botswana thrown a lifeline in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Updated: 2013-07-05 11:32

GABORONE- Botswana's hopes of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup have spurt back to life after they were awarded three points following a ruling over Ethiopia on Monday.

The world soccer governing body docked three points from Ethiopia for fielding an ineligible player in a game against the Zebras in June.

FIFA ruled that Ethiopia forfeited its 2-1 win in Botswana on June 8 because Minyahile Beyene played in that game when he was suspended for receiving two yellow cards in earlier qualifiers. FIFA awarded the match to Botswana 3-0, throwing the Zebras' campaign a lifeline.

The sanction means Ethiopia is only two points ahead of second-placed South Africa and three ahead of Botswana. A win against South Africa in September and Ethiopia loses to Central Africa Republic away will give the Zebras a ticket into the third and final round of African qualifiers.

Botswana coach Stanley Tshosane believes the Group A leaders Ethiopia are no longer guaranteed a place in Africa's final playoffs for the World Cup going into the final round of games in September.

Tshosane is now in camp with his team preparing for the regional Confederations of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) tournament starting in Zambia this week.

"I had wanted us to keep working hard (even after losing to Ethiopia) until the end of the campaign. I had hoped we would beat Ethiopia but here it is. Now it has happened the way I had wanted and it means we need to beat South Africa and see what happens in CAR," Tshosane said.

Tshosane believes the mental attitude in the Bafana squad has changed ever since Gordon Igesund took over and admits it will not be easy.

"South Africa has a made a bit of changes in their game. I see the players have changed their attitude towards games and it seems to be paying off. The players are still the same players Steve Komphela used when we drew 1-1 with them in Gaborone, save for three new faces or so," said Tshosane.

He acknowledged playing Bafana in South Africa would not be easy. "It will be do or die. I know it will be tough, but we have to fight and see what happens."

FIFA's disciplinary committee also fined Ethiopia's federation about $6,000.

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