Bafana to replay Senegal World Cup qualifier!

CAPE TOWN – As if things couldn’t get worse for the under-fire Bafana Bafana, the Fifa Bureau for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers has ordered a replay of South Africa’s home clash against Senegal.

Bafana Bafana, in what proved to be Shakes Mashaba’s last match in charge, beat the Senegalese 2-1 at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.

But the first of the two SA goals came from a dubious penalty awarded by Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey, who was subsequently banned for life by Fifa for match manipulation.

In the 43rd minute, Lamptey awarded Bafana a penalty – converted by Thulani Hlatshwayo – after the referee ruled a handball when the ball ricocheted off Senegal’s Kalidou Koulibaly.

TV replays clearly showed that the ball had struck Koulibaly’s legs instead of his hand, but despite protests from the Lions of Teranga, Lamptey stood by his decision.

In March this year, though, Lamptey was banned for life from any official football activity, but now the Fifa Bureau have decided that the result of the match shouldn’t stand either.

“The Bureau for the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers ordered a replay of the qualification match between South Africa and Senegal held on 12 November 2016,” Fifa said in a statement late on Wednesday night.

“This decision follows the confirmation of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to uphold the lifetime ban of match referee, Joseph Lamptey, for match manipulation, the ruling imposed by the Fifa Disciplinary and Appeal Committees.

“The match will be replayed within the November 2017 international window, with the exact date to be confirmed in due course.

“As stated in the Fifa World Cup regulations, this decision shall come into effect immediately, but shall be subject to confirmation by the Organising Committee for Fifa Competitions at its next meeting, scheduled for 14 September.”

Bafana were scheduled to face Senegal away on November 11, but may now replay the extra game in South Africa before travelling to west Africa.

It is the latest blow in what is turning out to be a disastrous 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign for Stuart Baxter’s men.

Their double defeat to Cape Verde over the last week has seen them drop to the bottom of Group D, although they were given an outside chance after Senegal and Burkina Faso drew their two consecutive games over the last few days as well.

Once the Fifa Bureau’s order is ratified on September 14, Bafana will drop from four points to one, although they will have the extra game in hand.

Burkina Faso and Cape Verde are on six points each.

Bafana’s next qualifier is against Burkina Faso at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on October 7.