- Soccer. Cranes look at Fifa replay order with envy and wonder how it would have affected the national side
ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT. On Wednesday night, Fifa made a decision that could change the way results are decided by ordering South Africa and Senegal to replay a game.
Their World Cup qualifier, last November, will be replayed after the match referee was banned for life by Fifa. Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey was banned for “match manipulation”.
He awarded a penalty to South Africa in their 2-1 win for handball but replays showed the ball hit Senegal’s Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly on the knee.
Lamptey was initially banned for life in March but on Wednesday the decision was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The decision has definitely opened so many wounds, some healing and others fresh, across the world, Uganda inclusive.
In 2007, Nigeria beat Uganda Cranes 1-0 in a 2008 Africa Cup of Nations qualification tie in Abeokuta with forward Nwankwo Kanu scoring the all-important goal.
However, the Super Eagles, were fortunate to have the points after Cranes had a goal disallowed in the last minute.
Striker Geoffrey Sserunkuma headed goal from a corner was ruled out by Senegalese referee Diatta Badara for an infringement.
“This was a draw,” said Lazslo Csaba, Uganda coach at the time. “There were two very good teams playing football but the referee was not good.” Sserunkuma remembers it like happened yesterday. “That was very unfair. If you remember, even the Nigeria players were surprised,” Sserunkuma said.
South Africa’s 2-1 victory over Uganda in 2005 in Johannesburg also left a sour taste. The visitors repeatedly questioned Nigerian referee Chukwudi Chukwujekwu.
Uganda Cranes were beaten 1-0 by Egypt here on Tuesday in a 2018 World Cup qualifying encounter but not even they are saints. No one is, at least not in football.
Congo Brazaville were on the receiving of some atrocious refereeing when Uganda thrashed them 4-0 at Namboole in 2012 to overturn a 3-1 deficit in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Andy Mwesigwa, Godfrey Walusimbi (penalty), Geoffrey Massa and Emmanuel Okwi shared the goals with Moroccan referee Bouchaïb El Ahrach controlling the show.
“This is why African teams do not go far,” Jean-Guy Wallemme, the Congo coach at the time, said at the post-match media briefing.
He felt that all 50-50 decisions went the way of Uganda. On one hand, Fifa are finally doing something by ordering a replay between South Africa and Senegal in November. However, they could have opened a can worms and many games could end up with teams filing official complaints. In the cases cited here, Uganda didn’t file official complaints and neither did the others.
Before this decision, Fifa heard nothing of Ireland’s 2009 complaint after Thierry Henry handled in the box to score against them in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers. Fifa would pay Ireland $5m claiming it was a ‘loan’.