FIFA is set to review South Africa’s World Cup qualifying loss to continental rivals Ghana after the South African Football Association lodged a complaint while fans rowed over a contentious penalty decision.
South Africa only needed a point against the Black Stars to get to the third and final round of qualifiers for Qatar 2022.
Yet following the 1-0 loss in Cape Coast determined by a controversial first-half penalty, SAFA chief executive Tebogo Mothlante claimed his team was “robbed” by “questionable decisions”.
“The match officials have decided the game, which is not what is supposed to happen,” Mothlante said of the Senegalese group that oversaw the tie and were headed by Maguette Ndiaye, the referee.
The decisive moment occurred when Ghana midfielder Daniel Amartey went down easily in the box after what appeared to be minimal contact with booked South African defender Rushine de Reuck.
As a consequence of the eventual result, Ghana topped South Africa in Group G on total goals scored and will contest the playoffs for a World Cup spot in March.
“FIFA has received a complaint from the South African FA in relation to this matter and will review it,” a statement read, but the South Africans believe that the debacle is the possible fruit of a precedent set five years ago.
Then, their team, known as Bafana Bafana, were forced to replay a Russia 2018 qualifier when a referee was found guilty of having manipulated a 2-1 win over Senegal to their benefit.
FIFA concluded that referee Joseph Lamptey from Ghana “clearly took two wrong decisions” for “a minimum number of goals to make certain bets successful”.
A penalty was awarded to South Africa for an alleged handball by Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, despite replays showing that the ball had struck his knee.
Ordering a replayed game, which South Africa lost 2-0 with Senegal qualifying for the World Cup instead, Bafana Bafana will hope for a similar outcome.
Online, their fans have reacted to the controversial call against Ghana.
VAR somebody? The guy deserves an Oscar! The next president of Ghananian Football material i tell you. Don’t say i didn’t tell you.
— Dr T.T. (@nkadimengtt) November 15, 2021
No Ghana must forfeit the game and be banned if found guilty of match fixing.
— SOMZET_SA (@somzet_sa) November 15, 2021
“Rematch in South Africa!” one demanded.
“VAR somebody? The guy deserves an Oscar! The next president of Ghanaian Football material, I tell you. Don’t say I didn’t,” added another.
A separate party didn’t want to hear excuses, however.
“Anytime Bafana Bafana lose, SAFA have something to say,” he began.
“Accept it, we lost, and stop talking nonsense. It’s a game, someone has to win and someone has to lose. SAFA must be dissolved.”