Sunday, September 8, 2013

Ethiopia advance in World Cup, South Africa out

2014845_FULL-LNDSeptember 7, 2013 (Ahram) — Minnows Ethiopia eliminated South Africa from the World Cup Africa zone qualifying competition Saturday by fighting back to defeat Central African Republic 2-1 in Congo.
The ‘Walias Antelopes’ topped Group A with 13 points, two more than 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa, whose 4-1 home win over Botswana in Durban proved futile.
Ethiopia, the bottom seeds in a mini-league expected to be dominated by South Africa, join Algeria, Egypt, Ghana and Ivory Coast in the two-leg play-offs.
Another four group winners will emerge later Saturday with Congo Brazzaville needing an away win and Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia home draws to ensure progression.
Cameroon host Libya Sunday and a win for either country would take them through to the final round with the draw scheduled for September 16 in Cairo.
Minyahel Teshome was an ironic match-winner for Ethiopia just past the hour mark in a match switched from Bangui to Brazzaville because of post-C.A.R. coup security concerns.
Teshome played in an away win over Botswana when suspended, resulting in Ethiopia being docked three points and having their qualification put on hold.
Central African Republic, out of the reckoning after four losses in a row, took the lead midway through the opening half in the Congolese capital when Salif Keita scored.
After both goalkeepers made outstanding late first-half saves, Salahdin Ahmed levelled three minutes into the second half and Teshome struck on 61 minutes.
South Africa outplayed Botswana for long periods and deserved to lead by more than 2-0 at half-time with Botswana goalkeeper Kabelo Dambe making several excellent saves.
Kermit Erasmus put Bafana Bafana (The Boys) in front on 28 minutes with a far-post header and Dean Furman added a second with a close-range shot in stoppage time.
A powerful Jerome Ramatlhakwane header 18 minutes from time offered Botswana hope only for Bernard Parker to bag a late brace, with one goal coming off a penalty.

Qualification history
One of the first African countries to participate in the FIFA World Cup™ qualifying competition, Ethiopia first attempted to reach the finals in 1962, and they have been fairly regular competitors in qualifying since without ever making a major mark. Going back to Korea Republic/Japan 2002, the Walya Antelopes showed potential in beating Burkina Faso 2-1 in the first leg of a qualifying tie before slumping to a 3-0 defeat in the return. Four years later, the tide was reversed as they lost 3-1 at home to Malawi before registering a scoreless draw away to the Flames. In the preliminaries for South Africa 2010, they came back from two defeats with victories home and away over Mauritania, including a 6-1 thrashing in Addis Ababa. However, those results were cancelled following the Ethiopia Federation’s exclusion from the competition.
The current crop
Ethiopia’s present form cannot match their heyday, when they won the CAF Africa Cup of Nations in 1962, but there are signs of progress for the east Africans. They will surely be hardened for the FIFA World Cup campaign by some rugged qualifying matches for the 2012 Cup of Nations.
The key players
Striker Said Saladin, who plays in the Egyptian domestic league, is the emblematic player of the Ethiopian team. Ethiopia can claim few overseas-based players, but their domestic competition is on the rise, and forward Umed Ukuri should give Saladin able support.
Coach: Sewnet Bishaw
Best performance in a FIFA competition: None
Former stars: Ydnekatchew Tessema, Luciano Vassalo, Mengistu Worku

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