Editor's Blog 12.9.2017 11:46 am

Fifa replay call is right I’m afraid

South Africa's 2-1 victory World Cup qualifier against Senegal in November 2016 has been invalidated and the match will have to be replayed, FIFA ruled after determining both of South Africa's goals were enabled by improper calls by the referee

South Africa's 2-1 victory World Cup qualifier against Senegal in November 2016 has been invalidated and the match will have to be replayed, FIFA ruled after determining both of South Africa's goals were enabled by improper calls by the referee

There was widespread indignation last week as Fifa announced that Bafana Bafana’s World Cup qualifying win at home to Senegal last November would have to be replayed.

It was a horrendous moment for South African football, a nation reeling already from home-and-away qualifying defeats to Cape Verde in a matter of days. And yet, taking the facts as they are in plain sight, I have to agree with the world footballing body’s decision on this matter.

The facts are this – Joseph Lamptey, the Ghanaian referee in charge of the Bafana-Senegal game in Polokwane, has been found guilty of match manipulation in that game, and has been banned for life by Fifa, a decision upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) in Switzerland.

People up in arms since Fifa’s decision have made reference to Diego Maradona’s handball against England at the 1986 Fifa World Cup, or Thierry Henry’s handball helping France into the 2010 World Cup at the expense of the Republic of Ireland. Yet these mistakes have not involved a referee that has been found guilty of manipulating either match.

Yes, in the case of the Republic of Ireland, details emerged of an unseemly golden handshake between Fifa and the Irish bosses, after the latter threatened Fifa with litigation. But again, there was not a referee who was found to have broken the laws of the game.

Lamptey “was found guilty of breaching art. 69 par. 1 (unlawfully influencing match results) of the Fifa Disciplinary Code during the 2018 Fifa World Cup Russia™ qualifying match between South Africa and Senegal on 12 November 2016,” the Fifa statement read in March.

If Lamptey influenced the result of the match deliberately, then the match must be replayed, simple as that. The fact that Bafana won the game, as they did, or that the South African Football Association are not being investigated for any wrongdoing, as Fifa have confirmed, is irrelevant. I would expect the same decision had Senegal won.

What I do have a slight issue with, however, is the fact that Fifa and Cas are being slow in releasing any more details of why Lamptey was banned. Why did he unlawfully influence the result of the Bafana-Senegal game? Cas told Phakaaathi that they would release more details “in due course”, but I wonder just how long that course will take. Safa are certainly entitled to a better explanation than they had received at the time of writing.

Moving on, Benni McCarthy is taking to this head coaching lark like a duck to water. Five wins out of five which could well be six out of six as City take on a beleaguered Kaizer Chiefs in the Absa Premiership tomorrow. If McCarthy does take down SuperSport United and win the MTN8, meanwhile, he will have a PSL trophy just months into his first head coaching job. Amakhosi coach Steve Komphela, for the record, has still never won a PSL trophy.

Congratulations, meanwhile, to City’s Ayanda Patosi, who walks away with Phakaaathi’s Player-of-the-Month Award for August. We speak to City chairman John Comitis about Patosi on Page 6. And we also speak to Thamsanqa Mkhize about tomorrow’s meeting with Chiefs. Don’t forget, meanwhile, to log onto phakaaathi.co.za for more news and our fantastic new score centre.

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