It ended up looking like the Biblical David and Goliath story. The South African Football Association (SAFA), no doubt seeing itself as the giant Goliath, prided itself as the know-all in African football administration while the Ghana Football Association (GFA) was seen as the little boy, David, who stood no chance of winning the battle at FIFA’s legal corridors.
SAFA Boss, Danny Jordan’s utterances notably before Friday’s verdict from FIFA headquarters, affirmed the disrespect he has for Ghana FA President, Kurt Okraku, disapprovingly likening him to a schoolboy who can’t teach his master, a professor the rudiments of the game. As it turned out, FIFA threw SAFA’s poor protest over the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifier against Ghana, out of the window saying it was “inadmissible”.
“The protest lodged by South Africa has been declared inadmissible by the Disciplinary Committee as it did not meet the requirements foreseen under art. 46 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code and art. 14 of the Regulations of the Preliminary Competition of the FIFA World Cup 2022,” FIFA stated. “The decision is subject to appeal” it added.
Exactly what led the world football governing body to the above conclusion is not fully known. However, SAFA has already indicated it’s considering options. “The South African Football Association (SAFA) will consider its options after the world football governing body (FIFA) dismissed its protest following Bafana Bafana’s controversial 1-0 loss to the Black Stars of Ghana last month.
“SAFA CEO, Advocate Tebogo Monthlante said once SAFA gets reasons for the outcome, will sit down and weigh its options. ‘We have received the decision without details and we will request FIFA for the reasons and consider our options” said SAFA.
It’s been a dramatic fortnight or so in which we’ve seen SAFA first staging a showbiz press conference detailing why a bad penalty was awarded to Ghana by the Senegalese referee. They alleged that there was match manipulation, match fixing, bribery and corruption, with Danny Jordan even daring to suggest contemptuously that Ghana’s economic fortunes were tied to a World Cup qualification and that our President could have problems if we don’t qualify for the World Cup.
GFA’s response was appropriate, unmistakably pointing to the glaring attempt by SAFA not alone to unjustifiably discredit the Black Stars but also mislead South Africans by using the protest to cover up their failure. At this stage, what more affirms the GFA’s position on SAFA’s failure to follow basic legal procedure in filing their protest than the admittedly terse FIFA statement?
Maybe the details from FIFA would embarrass SAFA more while laying bare their incompetence. The details from FIFA would maybe, also necessitate a parting on the back of the GFA for mounting, not a flamboyant press conference to level frivolous accusations but give purposeful, stoic defence with relevant information to move the hands of FIFA to Ghana’s favour.
We will get to know the details of the FIFA decision, and if SAFA will have any useful options to explore, I will urge them to come back this time being sober, respectful and learning the rules of the game well. They should be sure the GFA will respond with equal maturity for the good of the game. For now, I say thank you GFA, siyabonga FIFA.
Credit: Jerome Otchere