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FIFA giving SAFA the silent treatment... have they found something in referee investigation?

FILE - Ethan Brooks of South Africa is tackled by Mubarak Wakaso of Ghana during their Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium in Cape Coast, Ghana earlier this month. Photo: Thabang Lepule/BackpagePix

FILE - Ethan Brooks of South Africa is tackled by Mubarak Wakaso of Ghana during their Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium in Cape Coast, Ghana earlier this month. Photo: Thabang Lepule/BackpagePix

Published Nov 30, 2021

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Cape Town — In the aftermath of the much-publicised Fifa disciplinary committee meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, last Tuesday, the South African Football Association (SAFA) have been blackballed, amid veiled signs that the world-governing body might be dealing with more than just a complaint about a dubious referee.

Two weeks ago, SAFA lodged a protest with FIFA following the controversial handling of Bafana Bafana's World Cup qualifier against Ghana in Cape Coast by Senegalese referee Maguette Ndiaye.

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Ever since SAFA and the South African football fraternity have been on tenterhooks since there has been nothing but stony silence from the world's governing body. Speculation is that the silent treatment could be a thought-provoking sign that FIFA is dealing with more than just a formal complaint about a biased referee.

ALSO READ: The Bafana vs Ghana game must be replayed if Fifa truly believes in Fair Play as one of its main values

It has come to light that referee Maguette Ndiaye, for many seasons a popular choice as a CAF official, has disappeared off the radar. Last weekend, 16 first-leg matches in the CAF Confederation Cup play-off round were played, and Ndiaye was a conspicuous absentee on the list of match officials.

Again, not a word from CAF or FIFA on the surprising absence of Ndiaye from the duty roster for the CAF matches, last weekend. The second leg matches will be played this weekend, and no doubt there will be keen interest to see if Ndiaye will again be given the cold shoulder.

Danny Jordaan has previously explained that FIFA's investigations into matters such as match manipulations and match-fixing, goes far and wide. He pointed out that FIFA can call on international law enforcement agencies like Interpol, Europol and National Crime Agency to assist in investigations.

ALSO READ: Ghana Football Association hits back at SAFA for spreading ’falsehoods’ after controversial win

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Some experts have said that South Africa's complaint about the referee is nothing out of the ordinary and have ventured to say, the referee will be punished, but no replay will take place.

It is hard to believe, given all the resources at FIFA's disposal, that it was not possible to make a call on SAFA's protest, after a day or two.

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Apart from Ndiaye's absence last weekend, there is also the matter of the 10-team draw for the final round of CAF World Cup qualifiers have been changed from December to January. The postponement is also food for thought since the 10 teams for the final round had been decided.

The draw had been scheduled for December 18, but after the Extraordinary Assembly was held last Friday, it was announced that the Fifa World Cup qualification play-offs draw will be done on January 26.

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Over the past day, a story, with pictures, of a high-ranking Ghanaian football official visiting Senegal before the November 14 match has been doing the rounds on the Internet. It has raised suspicions after it became apparent there was no reason for the visit.

@Herman_Gibbs

IOL Sport

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