JOHANNESBURG – The South African Football Association (Safa) on Tuesday morning announced that they will no longer pursue their stance to have world governing body Fifa overturn their decision to order a replay of the 2018 World Cup qualifier between Bafana Bafana and Senegal in November last year.
“If there is evidence that we have benefited because of a crooked referee, then thanks for the three points, but we don’t want them,” said Safa president Danny Jordaan of the national team’s 2-1 win over Senegal at the Peter Mokaba Stadium about 10 months ago.
Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey has since been given a life-time ban by Fifa, one which he is still in the process of appealing through the Swiss courts, thereby flagging the fixture as possibly having been fixed.
Safa was cleared of any wrongdoing and had reacted with contempt to the decision to replay the match early last week, but will now no longer fight as they accept that the game should be played again in November.
The date is likely to be in the same week Bafana are scheduled to face Senegal away from home in Group D of the qualifiers. The two sides will now play back-to-back matches.
“We met as the executive committee on Monday, and what is clear is that we don’t want to be recipients of match manipulation. We are faced with a moral issue here, and that trumps everything else. We don’t want to be associated with any sort of match manipulation,” Jordaan continued.
SAFA Pres Dr Danny Jordaan chairing Joint Liaison Committee meeting attended by Dr Khoza, Kaizer Motaung among others at SAFA House pic.twitter.com/P2Rw6FzYpw
“But we still want evidence that the referee did manipulate the match. We would still like to know whether it is fair to lose points when all of this had nothing to do with us?
“We were not consulted or involved in the process before the decision was taken.”
The decision to replay Senegal now leaves Bafana bottom of Group D with only one point from three matches, following two successive defeats against Cape Verde earlier this month in Praia and then again in Durban four days later.