Football: Ethiopia, Togo fielded suspended players during World Cup Qualifiers

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - Ethiopia and Togo fielded suspended stars in 2014 World Cup qualifiers during June, according to Fifa match records of the competition.

Midfielder Manyahile Beyene played for Ethiopia in Botswana instead of serving a one-match ban having been cautioned in Group A games away to South Africa and at home against Botswana.

Another midfielder, Alaixys Romao of Togo, committed a similar offence, starting in a Group I home game against Cameroon when he should have been sidelined following cautions in two earlier matches.

World football governing body Fifa issued a statement last weekend saying they were probing games involving Togo, Ethiopia and Equatorial Guinea over the alleged use of ineligible players, but did not name them.

The standard punishment for a team guilty of using an ineligible player is that their opponents are awarded a 3-0 victory.

Should Togo, Ethiopia and Equatorial Guinea be found guilty, it would have a major impact on three groups with eliminated countries South Africa and Botswana (Group A) and Cape Verde Islands (Group B) coming back into contention.

Cameroon, who trail Libya by two points with a home fixture against them to come during September, would take a one-point advantage, leaving them needing a draw to reach the play-offs.

A player who receives two yellow cards in World Cup qualifiers automatically serves a one-match ban and it is a mystery why Ethiopia and Togo fielded Beyene and Romao.