Bafana vs Ghana: Tension continues to simmer over Fifa's World Cup decision

Mninawa Ntloko Digital sports editor
Safa CEO Tebogo Motlanthe made a telephone call seeking clarity after disparaging quotes emerged at the weekend.
TL_1688653 Safa CEO Tebogo Motlanthe made a telephone call seeking clarity after disparaging quotes emerged at the weekend.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

SA Football Association (Safa) CEO Tebogo Motlanthe has revealed that he personally called Ghana FA general secretary Prosper Harrison Addo to seek clarity after disparaging quotes attributed to the West African official emerged at the weekend.

Addo reportedly mocked his South African counterparts  in a media interview apparently conducted soon after Fifa dismissed Safa's complaint against the result of Bafana Bafana's 0-1 World Cup qualifying defeat to Ghana in Cape Coast on November 14. He was quoted as saying Safa “knows nothing in football and this case clearly shows how incompetent they are” among other choice barbs. 

Motlanthe did not take this lying down and asked Addo to clarify the comments attributed to him, but the Ghana FA official distanced himself from the quotes.

“I called him and he denied saying those things,” Motlanthe told TimesLIVE on Monday afternoon.

“The point is we have never attacked the Ghana FA and our issue was with the referee [Senegalese referee Maguette Ndiaye] and the way he handled our game.  So these comments did not make any sense. He claimed he was misquoted and has reported the matter to the media tribunal [in Ghana].”

Mothanthe said Addo maintained that SA and Ghana “are brothers” and went as far as providing proof that he had registered his unhappiness with the media house in question when they published the report.  

There has been simmering tension between Safa and its Ghana counterparts since the  South Africans registered their unhappiness with Ndiaye moments after the conclusion of the Bafana defeat. 

Safa had suspected that the match may have been fixed and asked Fifa to investigate Ndiaye, who awarded a match-winning penalty and also made numerous other questionable decisions that benefited the West Africans.

Safa wanted the game to be replayed at a neutral venue and for action to be taken against Ndiaye and his colleagues, Samba Elhadji Malick (assistant one), Camara Djibril (assistant two) and Gueye Daouda (fourth referee).

Safa sent documents to the world governing body, and to the Confederation of African Football, including a report by former Fifa referee Andile “Ace” Ncobo. But these efforts appeared to have come to nothing after Fifa dismissed the case at the weekend without providing any details.

The world governing body took days to announce a decision and when they finally  did so, it was in the form of a one-liner that contained very little information.

Safa had 10 days, in terms of Article 51 of the Fifa Disciplinary Code,  to request, in writing, the reasons for the dismissal of the highly contentious case, or the decision would have been final and binding. But Motlanthe said they wasted no time in firing off the letter to the world governing body and they are now awaiting a response.

“We are waiting for their reasons for dismissing the case and once we have their reasons, we will decide on the direction to take,” he said.

“They [Fifa] sent a letter today [on Monday] saying that they have received our letter, and we have met our obligations as required. We are now waiting for them to furnish us with the reasons.”

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