Safa did well to aban­don chal­lenge

Sowetan - - Opinion -

The SA Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion should be ap­plauded for com­ing to its senses re­gard­ing Fifa’s or­der that Bafana Bafana’s match against Sene­gal be re­played.

Last week, Safa bosses were all up in arms fol­low­ing Fifa’s rul­ing that the World Cup qual­i­fier, found to have been “ma­nip­u­lated” by Ghana ref­eree Joseph Lamptey, be re­played for the sake of fair­ness.

We heard Safa pres­i­dent Danny Jor­daan and le­gal ad­viser Nor­man Arendse fu­ri­ously claim­ing there were grounds to ap­peal the de­ci­sion. But this week, ev­ery­one was singing a dif­fer­ent tune much to our re­lief - with Safa con­firm­ing it would no longer seek to ap­peal and would in­stead ad­here to the Fifa rul­ing.

“The moral and eth­i­cal is­sue was raised and we felt we do not need the three points if this match was tam­pered with,” Jor­daan told re­porters.

As pre­vi­ously noted, we agree with this stance. Lamptey’s ma­nip­u­la­tion of the match had noth­ing to do with South Africa, who went on to beat Sene­gal in last Novem­ber’s clash in Polok­wane.

But the fact that Bafana ben­e­fited from his du­bi­ous de­ci­sion to award a penalty where none ex­isted - is in­dis­putable ev­i­dence of “ma­nip­u­la­tion”.

Re­ports have claimed that Lamptey may have been in­flu­enced by a bet­ting syn­di­cate, whom he had al­legedly told be­fore­hand he would award a penalty to SA at around the 40th minute mark.

While Fifa has not re­leased de­tails of its find­ings on the scan­dal, their of­fi­cials ap­par­ently be­came sus­pi­cious when bet­ting on an SA penalty shot up just be­fore half­time, and Lamptey seemed to oblige by giv­ing the spot­kick af­ter the ball had clearly hit a Sene­gal player on the leg.

The ref­eree is ap­peal­ing the case, but we are glad SA will not be part of this. We can­not be seen to be en­dors­ing the cor­rupt.

What’s left for us is for Bafana to re­play the match as sched­uled in Novem­ber, and prove that our win over the Sene­galese was not a fluke. If we are good enough, we will pre­vail. If not, with our 2018 World Cup qual­i­fy­ing al­ready in tat­ters fol­low­ing this month’s losses to Cape Verde, we will just have to go back to the draw­ing board.

There’s no use qual­i­fy­ing for a World Cup on the back of ob­vi­ous cor­rup­tion, and we sa­lute Safa for fi­nally re­al­is­ing this.

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