Days of questioning of the integrity of match officials during the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifier between Bafana Bafana and Ghana led to the South African Football Association (Safa) addressing the nation on the matter on Wednesday.
Safa president Danny Jordaan, alongside CEO Tebogo Motlanthe, Bafana head coach Hugo Broos, captain Ronwen Williams and defender Rushine De Reuck, expressed their views on Sunday’s game, making it crystal clear that they felt unfairly treated by referee Maguette Ndiaye in the 1-0 loss.
Safa said the Senegalese ref gave a poor performance and was wrong to award the decisive penalty that gave Ghana their win and passage to the final round of World Cup qualifying in Africa.
Former top Premier Soccer League (PSL) referee Ace Ncobo was also part of the panel after Safa approached the 64-year-old to dissect the entire match and help lodge a solid complaint to Fifa. “We are concerned with certain decisions in the match. We believe there was match manipulation at play,” said Jordaan.
“Fifa has a responsibility to protect the integrity of all of its competitions, and that is a responsibility that arises from the Fifa statutes.
“Our duty as Safa is to recognise first whether there is any bias that we can prove against our team and then report any match manipulation to Fifa.”
To prove his point, Jordaan said betting took place on the match on Sunday and brought it to Fifa’s attention in their documents that were filed. “There was betting on the match. It is a fact that there was betting on the match,” Jordaan said.
“We want Fifa to investigate this also. What happens in betting? If you know in the 10th minute the referee is going to give a penalty; then there is a betting spike just before the penalty is given.
“If that happens, if the betting spikes coincide with the decision, then you know. But how is it that there is a betting spike just before a major decision is taken?
“So, they knew when to bet because it’s online betting, so you watch the match, and you watch the match because you have the information.
“We don’t have the capacity to do that [investigation], so we have asked Fifa to do that.”
Ncobo backed Jordaan’s approach after he analysed the referee’s decisions throughout the match.
“So, we agree that this is not about the penalty incident that led to the goal, and I am glad that in the president’s presentation, he revealed the framework of this submission to Fifa,” Ncobo said.
“Let’s not speak about ‘Safa appeals penalty decision’ — this is not about the penalty decision. This submission is about a firm suspicion that the match was unlawfully manipulated, and I am going to prove it.”
He revealed that “90,9% of incorrect decisions” went against Bafana at Cape Coast Sports Stadium on Sunday.
“My independent conclusion is that the referee in this match was blatantly biased against South Africa,” he said. “The 90,9% of incorrect decisions against one team is a clear case of a match official unlawfully influencing and/or manipulating the course and/or the outcome of the match.
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“I spent five hours and 17 minutes watching the first half and putting together the report. There were 71 major incidents during the game.
“If you look at the pattern of bias, you will see that there was no way that South Africa was going to score in that match. This is not only about the penalty but the match in its entirety,” said Ncobo.
Meanwhile, the “Beach Bafana” team opened the Cosafa Beach Soccer Championships in Durban with a 4-2 victory over Seychelles on Wednesday.
All the home team’s goals came from Nduduzo Phakathi on South Beach, while Mozambique defeated Comoros 8-3.
South Africa’s next game will be against Angola at 1.30 pm on Thursday as part of a four-match programme starting at 10 am.
The tournament ends on Sunday.