Mon Apr 21 09:06:22 SAST 2014
Mon Apr 21 09:06:22 SAST 2014

Fifa undecided on Bangui qualifier

Apr 18, 2013 | Mark Gleeson |   4 comments

FIFA is yet to decide what to do about the venue for the upcoming World Cup qualifier between South Africa and Central African Republic in early June.

SEIZING POWER: Seleka rebels in a vehicle carrying the South African flag in Bangui. PHOTO: JAMES OATWAY

World football's governing body is still monitoring the situation in Bangui, where the match is scheduled for June 8.

It is where SANDF troops died last month in the wake of a rebel advance that saw the country's president Francois Bozize flee the country at the rebels advance.

A Fifa spokesman said last night: "A decision has not been taken yet. It's still to be defined."

There remains concern in South Africa over the safety of the Bafana Bafana team who have to travel there for their Group A match in the African qualifiers for Brazil 2014.

The South African Football Association has already sought to get the game moved to a neutral venue, writing to Zurich about its reluctance to go into a war zone. In terms of World Cup regulations, a final decision on the venue and kickoff of any qualifier has to be communicated to Fifa and the opposing team by the home association a fortnight before the match.

There is a precedent for South Africa.

Bafana had a lucky break in a 1998 World Cup qualifier when the overthrow of the Mobutu Sese Seko regime coincided with the qualifier against the then Zaire in Kinshasa.

Fifa moved that match to neutral Togo where Bafana won and went on to top the group and qualify for a first finals appearance in France.

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