Safa score ‘away goal’ for Bafana Bafana Nations Cup qualifier against São Tomé
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CAPE TOWN - It took some deft administrative footwork by the South African Football Association (Safa) officials to ensure that Bafana Bafana will play their away Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against São Tomé on home soil.
As a result, the away match will now be played in Port Elizabeth, instead of Bafana travelling to the Central African island country of São Tomé.
Safa and the São Toméan Football Federation officially concluded a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which ensured that both home and away ties are played in South Africa.
The home tie will be on Friday, November 13, at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. The away tie will be on Monday, November 16, at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, in Port Elizabeth.
Part of the MOU reads: “The Sao Toméan Football Federation undertakes to play its home game in the territory of Second Party and Safa undertakes to host both home and away matches in its territory.
“All disputes in connection with this MOU, including disputes relating to its conclusion, binding effect, amendment, breach or termination, urgent injunctive or similar interim relief, or conservatory measure shall be promptly settled between the Parties by negotiation.
“The two nations agreed that this historic arrangement that has since been relayed to CAF was precipitated by flight restriction within the African continent and health dangers posed by the coronavirus pandemic.”
The agreement was prompted by the logistical challenges posed by the Covid19 pandemic. If the agreement had not been reached, both teams would have flown out to São Tomé straight after the match in Durban.
Safa will foot the bill for the visiting team and officials during their stay in South Africa.
Bafana are in Group C which is headed by Ghana‚ who are unbeaten after defeating Bafana 2-0 in November in 2019, at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium in Ghana.
Playing back to back fixtures on home soil will help Bafana Bafana (world-ranked 71) to pick up maximum points against the 182-ranked nation.