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FIFA investigation gives Bafana hope

Ethiopia allegedly fielded an ineligible player in their World Cup qualifying campaign.

FILE: Soccer fans attend the opening ceremony of the first World Cup ever held in Africa at Soccer City, on 11 June 2010. Picture: SAPA stringer

JOHANNESBURG - Football's world governing body FIFA has opened an investigation into the Ethiopian Football Association after they allegedly fielded an ineligible player in their World Cup qualifying campaign.

Ethiopia beat South Africa 2-1 on Sunday, ending Bafana Bafana's hopes of going to the tournament in Brazil.

Bernard Parker opened the scoring in the 34th minute but Ethiopia managed to equalise just before half time.

They entered the second half, with one goal each.

During the second half Parker turned from hero to zero when he headed in an own goal for Ethiopia.

The news from the FIFA headquarters on Sunday night gives South Africa the slimmest of lifelines in their bid to qualify for the World Cup.

It's believed that midfielder Manyahile Beyene should have sat out their away game in Lobatse after receiving yellow cards in previous matches away to South Africa and against Botswana at home.

FIFA also opened disciplinary proceedings against Togo and Equatorial Guinea.

There are a number of options open to Bafana and it's possible they could be docked the 3 points.

If that were to happen it would leave Ethiopia on 10 points in Group A, Bafana on 8 with one round of fixtures remaining.

Meanwhile, Bafana still have one game to play in September against Botswana.

The winners will go through to the next round of qualifiers.