2014 World Cup: Cape Verde Back in Race for Brazil After Latest African Scandal

Frank WagnerCorrespondent IJuly 22, 2013

PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA - FEBRUARY 02:  Tavares Julio of Cape Verde in action during the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations Quarter-Final match between Ghana and Cape Verde at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on February 2, 2013 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Ian Walton/Getty Images

Africa's rocky qualification process for the 2014 World Cup has taken yet another turn, as Group B has been thrown into disarray and Cape Verde gifted a lifeline.

FIFA, the governing body in the world of football, changed the results of two matches in the group, both between Cape Verde and Equatorial Guinea.

In each, the governing body ruled Friday that Equatorial Guinea captain Emilio Nsue, who had played for Spain in youth competitions, was ineligible to compete.

While FIFA did not make it clear why Nsue should not have played, the results in each match were overturned to a 3-0 Cape Verde win.

The ruling had no effect on the result of the June fixture in Cape Verde, but it completely turned around the March result in Equatorial Guinea, which the home team had won 4-3 behind a Nsue hat trick.

As a result of this switch, the entire complexion of the group has shifted heading into the final group match.

Group leaders Tunisia had seemingly clinched the group in June, but these changes have reopened a path for Cape Verde, a team that had been eliminated from contention in March.

Because only the group winner advances to the final round of qualifying in CAF, the fate of each nation rides on a match between Tunisia and Cape Verde in September.

The Tunisians can feel hard done by, as they entered their last match with Equatorial Guinea in June under the impression that a draw would be good enough to clinch progression through the group. However, despite earning a 1-1 draw, this series of events has pulled the rug out from under them.

This controversy is just the latest in Africa's World Cup qualifying process, as five other matches have been overturned thus far.

Of the other five results that were awarded to teams (Botswana over Ethiopia, Zambia over Sudan, Congo over Burkina Faso, Niger over Gabon and Cameroon over Togo), each was for the fielding of an ineligible player and had a direct impact on the standings at the top of the group in which it was played.

In the qualifying processes of the other five confederations, only two match results have been similarly overturned.

Thanks to these great fluctuations and the relatively light punishment being doled out to the teams that field ineligible players, the CAF seems to be making a mockery out of this qualification process.