[WORLD CUP 2014 QUALIFYING: Africa] Less than a week after it had been eliminated from the World Cup when it lost, 2-0, at home to Cape Verde Islands and its coach, Nabil Maaloul, quit in disgrace, Tunisia was back in contention after it was awarded the game by forfeit because the Cape Verdeans had used an ineligible player.
The seemingly endless series of adjustments to the standings ended with Tunisia back on top of Group B with 14 points, ahead of Cape Verde Islands with nine.
Verde Islands had itself risen from the dead when FIFA awarded it the six points from its two games against Equatorial Guinea for its opponent's use of an ineligible player.
Islands' mistake was playing defender Fernando Varela, who had not yet completed a four-game suspension, against Tunisia.
Equatorial Guinea's error
was fielding a former Spanish youth international without having his association switch approved by FIFA.
Not only will Tunisia be in Monday's draw for the final round of qualifying but
the Lions of Carthage will be one of the five seeds. Cape Verde Islands would have also been seeded if it had advanced.
Tunisia has no plans to take back Maaloui's resignation. The top
candidate to replace Maaloui, who had only been in charge seven months, is Belgian Georges Leekens.
Equatorial Guinea and Cape Verde Islands were
among seven African teams to forfeit points for the use of ineligible players during qualifying for the 2014 tournament.
Burkino Faso and Ethiopia were fortunate enough to still advance
despite the lost points.
1. Ivory Coast
9. Burkina Faso
(September FIFA rankings.)