Saladin Said brace boosts Ethiopian World Cup bid

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Ethiopia are proudly sitting on top of qualifying Group A after Saladin Said’s brace earned them a 2-0 home win over the Central African Republic on Sunday.

African champions Zambia put a torrid week of off-field tension behind them to beat Ghana 1-0 in a 2014 World Cup Group D qualifier on Saturday.

In Marrakech, Morocco substitute Hamza Abdourazzouk scored a dramatic equaliser one minute from time to earn a 2-2 draw with top-ranked Ivory Coast in Group C.

GROUP A

Ethiopia surged to the top of the group on Sunday with Saladin Said bagging the brace that earned a 2-0 home win over the Central African Republic .

Egypt-based striker Said, whose goal gave the Black Lions a shock draw in South Africa last weekend, put the home team ahead on 38 minutes in Addis Ababa and he scored again two minutes from time to clinch maximum points.

Ranked 130 in the world by Fifa this month, Ethiopia are the bottom seeds in Group A behind three-time World Cup qualifiers South Africa, Botswana and the Central African Republic.

But the table makes a mockery of the rankings with Ethiopia on four points, Central African Republic three, South Africa two and Botswana one after two rounds of the mini-league second qualifying phase.

Famous for their athletics prowess, Ethiopia have never come remotely close to reaching the World Cup, but that could be about to change, especially with South Africa battling to score goals or win matches.

South Africa’s first game after the firing of coach Pitso Mosimane began promisingly when defender Morgan Gould headed them into the lead in the 14th minute against Botswana .

But Ofentse Nato netted the equaliser seven minutes before half-time.

The 2010 World Cup hosts, who have begun qualifying with two draws, have now gone eight matches without a win.

South Africa caretaker coach Steve Komphela was hoping that Bafana Bafana would put a difficult week behind them against the Zebras.

Komphela was assistant coach this time a week ago but was elevated to his current role after Pitso Mosimane left his job in the wake of Sunday’s 1-1 home draw at home to Ethiopia.

Read more on BBC Sport

 

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