Safa did well to abandon challenge
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.