The Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) sacked its general secretary Ashenafi Ejigu on Monday after the Cecafa nation admitted fielding an ineligible player in a World Cup qualifier against South Africa.
In a raucous meeting, SuperSport reports that the EFF agreed to sack Ejigu but rejected the resignation offer by vice president Berhanu Kebede, who had previously been blamed by the body for the mix-up.
Some members of the football association and journalists at the meeting called for the whole management to be sacked.
Sahilu Gebremariam, the federation’s president, said he was likely to submit his own resignation in an upcoming election for seats in the body’s executive committee.
“This was a massive blunder so we all should have resigned,” he told Reuters. “But we have responsibilities ahead so we voted to stay until September.”
Ethiopia’s 2-1 win over South Africa in Addis Ababa on June 16 had given them an unassailable five-point lead in their group and place in the final phase of African qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
But hours later, world governing body Fifa said it was investigating allegations Ethiopia had played suspended midfielder Minyahile Beyene against Botswana on June 8.
Minyahile had been booked twice in previous matches and World Cup rules state a player who receives two cautions in the qualifying campaign must serve an automatic one-match ban.
He was shown a yellow card in the 1-1 draw with South Africa a year ago and again in a 1-0 win over Botswana in March.
Ethiopia, who have never qualified for the World Cup finals, are expected to be docked three points meaning a place in the final qualifying round will be up for grabs in Group A.
If the points are redistributed, Ethiopia will have 10, South Africa will be on eight and Botswana on seven with each team having one match left to play in the group.
Officials said they mistakenly fielded the midfielder. Vice-president Berhanu, also team leader during the match against Botswana, said he had lost a letter from Fifa that notified the Ethiopian body of Minyahile’s bookings.
“I never use pens and papers during matches, let alone keep records of cautions,” said team coach Sewnet Bishaw. “I only focus on ways to win the match.”
Ethiopia play the Central African Republic on September 6, while South Africa lock horns with Botswana.
Victory for the Walyas Antelopes will grant them a slot in the play off even if they are docked points from the win over Botswana.
As expected, Ethiopia will lose points like Burkina Faso and Gabon who lost points for fielding Cameroon-born players who were ineligible to play for their national teams, while Sudan lost three points for using a suspended player.