Dennis Mumble. Picture: SOWETAN
Dennis Mumble. Picture: SOWETAN

Senior South African Football Association (Safa) officials will travel to Switzerland shortly to voice their unhappiness with Fifa after the world governing body ordered Bafana Bafana to replay their 2018 World Cup qualifier against Senegal.

Bafana beat the Senegalese 2-1 in Polokwane in November 2016‚ but the qualifier came under scrutiny after the West Africans reported controversial referee Joseph Lamptey’s performance to Fifa.

Safa officials faced considerable criticism from the public after they announced on Tuesday they would not challenge Fifa’s decision on moral and ethical grounds. The association did not want to benefit from match manipulation‚ even if Fifa had established no wrongdoing on the part of SA.

CEO Dennis Mumble said on Wednesday Safa was as unhappy as the nation’s soccer lovers and he would travel to the Fifa headquarters with the association’s legal committee head, Norman Arendse, to communicate the country’s annoyance.

‘‘The way it stands right now‚ we will replay the game as instructed by Fifa‚" Mumble said. ‘‘We are not formally challenging the decision [to replay the match] but we are going to register our concerns."

The controversial referee received a lifetime ban from Fifa for match manipulation, but Mumble said Safa has since learnt that he is now challenging the decision in the Swiss courts.

‘‘Should the courts find that Fifa erred in this matter‚ then clearly we have to also go in and assert our rights because we will also be affected by it‚" Mumble said.

‘‘As much as we agree that we have to stamp out corruption in football, we took the moral high ground here and agreed to replay the match because we do not want to be recipients of a corrupt outcome‚ [but] it doesn’t mean that we should not raise these matters."

Mumble said there were several other issues that did not sit well with Safa and it would let Fifa know how it feels about the implications of the decision.

Safa was never asked to present its side of the story and was given very little information until Fifa dropped the bombshell last week.

Another aspect is that the rules require teams to register protests within two hours after the completion of a match and there is suspicion that Senegal did not meet this deadline.

Mumble said Safa was leaving the door open and even though it had agreed to replay the game‚ it could still go the legal route and challenge the decision.


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