World Cup qualifying: Ethiopia progress, South Africa knocked out

ethio_footballEthiopia progressed to the African play-offs after knocking 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa out of the race to Brazil with a 2-1 win in National Stadium of Addis Ababa on Sunday.

The result means Ethiopia, with an unassailable five point lead with one qualifying match remaining, automatically finish top of Group A and progress to the final round of World Cup qualifier playoffs.

With the scores locked at 1-1 with goals from Getaneh Kebede and Parker, a stunning own goal determined the outcome in the 70th minute. Parker on this occasion put the ball in his own net in an attempted clearance from an Ethiopian free-kick.

Earlier, a nervy start for Bafana forced goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune into making a solid stop as early as the third minute, after Ethiopia’s Saladin Said knocked a dangerous ball goal wards from a set-piece on the edge of the area.

The win caps a remarkable revival in the fortunes of Ethiopia, one of African football’s founding fathers. With many fans watching on a big screen in Addis Ababa and others tuned in around the country, with songs, dances it was really a breathtaking night for Ethiopians.

The top team in each of the 10 African groups will go through to the third round, where they will play home-and-away playoffs for the five World Cup spots up for grabs. The Ethiopians held on for the crucial three points that have seen them qualify for the playoffs of the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifiers. The Consulate would like to say congratulations to the Wayla Antelopes.