Cape Verde, who could have been the smallest nation to have ever taken part in the World Cup, have been thrown out of the African qualification play-offs for fielding an ineligible player.
The tiny Islands, situated off the west coast of Africa, had upset the odds when they beat Tunisia 2-0 in Tunis, but they will now relinquish their place to the side they had knocked out in spectacular fashion.
The irony comes after Tunisia coach Nabil Maaloul resigned in the wake of the embarrassing defeat, but his former side will now be entered into the 10-team draw on Monday to decide the final play-off matches, with the winners qualifying for next summer’s tournament.
Defender Fernando Varela was ineligible for the weekend clash having been sent off in a previous qualifier in March. As a result, the match has been forfeited with a 3-0 scoreline going in favour of Tunisia, Fifa clarified in a statement.
The result means they finish top of Groub B ahead of the Cape Verdians, and will contest the two-legged playoff in October and November.
Cape Verde have also been fined £4075 after a Fifa disciplinary committee meeting.
The sanction is the latest in a long line of administrative mix-ups, that has already seen penalties dished out to Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Sudan and Togo who have all fielded ineligible players and a incurred similar wrath.
Cape Verde had actually gained six points during their qualification campaign after both matches against Equatorial Guinea were sanctioned for the same offence, which gave them the chance to top the table after Tunisia appeared to have secured progression.
Following the latest penalty, it has raised a peculiar situation of why so many sides are unknowingly fielding ineligible players, and whether the rulings of the Confederation of African Football have been made clear to those competing under its and Fifa’s rule.Reuse content