Johannesburg – It could go either way, as things stand.
Fifa could dismiss Safa’s complaint or give the robbed Bafana Bafana a lifeline by ruling that the match be replayed when the disciplinary committee of the world football governing body sits on Tuesday.
The evidence is overwhelming that Senegalese referee Maguette N’Diaye manipulated the result of the crunch and final mini-log 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifier between Ghana and South Africa at the Ghanaian coastal city of Cape Coast.
Bafana lost 1-0 last Sunday evening.
Allow me to look back at the last few days of the war of words between Safa and the Ghana Football Association (GFA) president Kurt Okraku after Safa decided, immediately after full- time, to lodge a complaint.
It was crystal clear from as early as the 15th minute of the match that N’Diaye was biased in favour of the Ghanaians.
And by Wednesday, Safa president Danny Jordaan announced the protest documents were on Fifa’s desk in Zurich, Switzerland.
Reactionary and uncalled for, the GFA released a hogwash statement accusing Safa of falsehood in order to cover up their incompetency and inaptness.
And they were scathing, leading to a spat between the two associations whose friendly relations have since been strained.
The GFA statement must be dismissed with the contempt it deserves. It is hogwash. “Balderdash,” to quote one Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
Safa never alluded to any “molestation” of Bafana players, and never said the distance by bus from the capital city’s Accra airport to the match venue in Cape Coast was nine hours.
A distance of four was mentioned by Mzansi reporters.
The GFA also accused Bafana players of deliberately being deceitful about the treatment meted to them on the field.
Defender Rushine De Reuck, who was warned by N’Diaye of the impending booking that duly came, wept after the game because he knew he didn’t concede the winning penalty.
The young man is broken. South Africa’s camp, from coach Hugo Broos and his charges, to SA officials and fans, were left with a bitter taste in their mouths.
To say South Africans at home who stayed until the late 9pm kick-off only to witness “the great football robbery” are angry is an understatement. But we’ll accept whatever outcome.