S. Africa ponder replay appeal

CAPE TOWN • South Africa look set to launch an appeal against a Fifa decision to order a replay of last November's World Cup qualifier against Senegal after the referee was found to have manipulated the result.

World football's governing body on Wednesday ordered the African zone Group D game, which South Africa won 2-1 in Polokwane, to be played again in November after referee Joseph Lamptey lost his last bid to overturn a life ban.

He was sanctioned in March by Fifa after it was found he had contrived to engineer a victory by South Africa. No details of how he was manipulated have been given but South Africa have denied any involvement.

The Ghanaian official handed South Africa a dubious penalty for a non-existent handball and then allowed another goal to stand shortly thereafter from a quickly taken free kick while he was still ordering the Senegalese defenders to retreat.

Lamptey appealed against his ban and took the matter to the Court for Arbitration for Sport, which has upheld the Fifa decision, leading to the ordering on Wednesday of a replay.

"Safa is studying the contents of the report and will issue a statement on intentions to challenge that decision," the South African Football Association said in response yesterday. "Safa wishes to also state categorically that it was in no way involved with any wrongdoing related to the actions of the referee, as stated in the Fifa report."

Fifa will decide next week on the date for the replay but it will be played in the November window for internationals, when South Africa are already scheduled to visit Senegal for their last group game.

After Fifa's decision to nullify the original result, South Africa slump even further down the standings to last place and effectively now have a single point from three matches. Senegal have five points.

Both trail co-leaders, Burkina Faso and the Cape Verde Islands, who have six points each but from four matches. Only the five group winners qualify for next year's World Cup in Russia.

South Africa have played in the Finals thrice, the last in 2010 when the country was the host.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2017, with the headline 'S. Africa ponder replay appeal'. Print Edition | Subscribe