Sad end to Bafana’s Qatar dream

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Andre Ayew of Ghana and Siyanda Xulu of South Africa during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between South Africa and Ghana at FNB Stadium on September 06, 2021 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)
Andre Ayew of Ghana and Siyanda Xulu of South Africa during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between South Africa and Ghana at FNB Stadium on September 06, 2021 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

SPORT


It was on November 14 two years ago that Bafana Bafana came out of Cape Coast Stadium in Ghana with a bloodied nose.

This time around, inept officiating shattered a dream that was about to be realised.

South Africa’s 1-0 defeat to Ghana in their deciding World Cup qualifier on Sunday night was nothing like the tactless 2-0 loss Bafana suffered in their opening Afcon qualifier in 2019.

There is no doubt that Senegalese referee Maguette Ndiaye will be a topic of discussion in any conversation about unfair play.

How on earth the 34-year-old awarded a penalty that was not, coupled with other dubious decisions, raised suspicions of “home decisions” in a match Ghana badly needed to win to progress to the next round.

READ: Inside Bafana’s Ghana expedition

South Africa had done well to absorb pressure in the opening quarter of the first half, but were undone by the moment when Ndiaye harshly penalised Nyiko Mobbie for a supposed push on Daniel Amartey.

To their credit, Bafana fought back gallantly in the second half and at some point took the game from the Black Stars who enjoyed a strong backing from some 4 000 fans who were allowed to watch the Group G decider.

Truth be told, any other team would have easily collapsed from the heavy press by the Ghanaians but coach Hugo Broos should be proud of his charges for their resistance despite so many referee decisions going against South Africa.


Also, this Bafana team, which is mainly made up novices, outdid themselves to get this far in their attempt to reach Qatar.

South Africa headed into Sunday’s match with a three-point advantage, only for their dream to be shattered in a cruel fashion, also given that it was Bafana’s first loss of the Qatar qualifiers.

READ: Bafana v Ghana | Hugo Broos’ words ...

There was no way the Black Stars captain and poster boy Andre Ayew would miss from the spot kick, especially on the occasion when he was celebrating his 100th cap in a Ghana shirt.

With their win, Ghana marched on into the play-off stage that will determine the five countries that will represent Africa in Qatar next year.

For Bafana, they’ll have to wait a little longer before they get back to serious competition as South African are not part of the 24 nations that will contest the Afcon finals in Cameroon early next year.


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Daniel Mothowagae 

Deputy sports editor

+27 11 713 9001
Daniel.Mothowagae@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park
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