Safa president Danny Jordaan says the referee was clearly biased towards Ghana during Sunday’s match that ended Bafana Bafana’s World Cup qualification hopes.
SAFA president Danny Jordaan says it’s the number of discovered incidents of bias from referee Maguette N’Diaye against Bafana Bafana during their World Cup qualifier against Ghana that forced them to lodge a complaint to Fifa.
On Sunday night, the South Africans saw their dream of qualifying for the World Cup come to an abrupt end as they lost 1-0 away to Ghana in the last group stage qualifier to finish second in Group G behind the Black Stars as they trailed on goal difference.
But that defeat left a bitter taste in the mouth of the South Africans who felt that they were hard-done by a dubious penalty decision from N’Diaye who adjudged that Daniel Amartey was fouled in the box by defender Rushine dDe Reuck.
Ghana captain Andre Ayew stepped-up and sent his nation to the final round of the qualifiers. And that was the end of Bafana, who needed a draw from that match. But Safa called a press briefing on Wednesday to explain a way forward after the loss.
Jordaan, with the findings and analysis of independent former referee Andile Ncobo, admitted they have lodged an official complaint to Fifa for the match to be replayed as they believed that N’Diaye unlawfully manipulated the result of the game.
Jordaan hinted that there were also suspicious betting activity during the match, especially in the lead up to the much-discussed penalty.
“We’ve asked Mr Ncobo to check whether there was a confirmed bias against Bafana in order to have a particular outcome in the match. We also asked whether there was betting. And yes, there was betting on the match,” Jordaan told the media.
“If, for example, I know that in the 10th minute the referee will give a penalty then there’ll be a betting spike. If that happens, the betting spike coincides with the decision, then how is it that that’s possible? So they probably knew when to place a bet.”
He added: “So the last question is, was the profile of the match such that there were interest out of football? And again, it’s yes. You’ve seen the articles. There was one saying that if Ghana loses, there’ll be major problems even for their president.”
After long hours of going through the video clips of the match, having started reviewing after the request from Jordaan on Sunday night, Ncobo said he came across 71 incidents – of which most of those went against the visiting team, Bafana.
“My independent conclusion is that the referee in this match was blatantly biased against South Africa. 90,9 percent 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,” he said.
In his review of the alleged acts of bias, Ncobo said N’Diaye should be found guilty of contravening Article 18 of the Fifa Disciplinary Code. And that’s why he should be banned for at least five years, while the result of the match must be declared null and void.
It’s the second campaign in a row where Bafana found themselves embroiled in a suspected match-fixing scandal. In 2018, they had to replay their World Cup qualifier against Senegal after being awarded a dubious penalty in the initial game.
“When we played against Senegal, we were given a penalty and upon review, we said ‘it’s not a penalty’. When Fifa asked us if there was manipulation for us get that penalty, we said ‘we don’t want to go to the World Cup based on such basis’,” Jordaan said.
“’If you call a replay on the match, we are prepared to replay the match.’ Of which we did. This time the boot is on the other foot. But we’ll leave the matter in Fifa’s hands because out of the 54 countries in Africa, only five will qualify for the World Cup.”
Meanwhile, Bafana captain and goalkeeper Ronwen Williams, who cut a sombre figure among the panel, also stated that he also felt targeted by N’Diaye even before the start of the game. This is after the latter said he’d book him for any time wasting incidents.