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South Africa may suffer for botched substitution

South Africa is set to lose the FIFA world ranking points picked up for beating World Champions Spain on Tuesday because of an illegal substitution during the sides’ friendly fixture in Johannesburg.

The two nations had agreed on a maximum of six replacements each, but Vicente del Bosque had used up all of his changes when goalkeeper Victor Valdes went down injured after 76 minutes.

Right back Alvaro Arbeloa went in goal initially, but Spain soon sent on Pepe Reina – despite the protests of Bafana boss Gordon Igesund.

“The Spanish players asked me if I minded and I told them to ask the referee,” the South Africa coach told reporters afterwards.

“It was all about fair play,” Del Bosque said.

“I am normally cautious with the last change but I wanted to give [Andres] Iniesta a rest. We asked to make the substitution and were given the thumbs up.”

The home side held on to record a famous 1-0 win thanks to Bernard Parker’s 56th-minute strike but will miss out on the ranking points that would have boosted its world position because the game is set to be declared null and void by FIFA.

South Africa are currently ranked joint 61st in the world and victory against the world champions would have been worth 500 points.

Ranking points are used by FIFA when deciding seedings for major tournaments.

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