Bafana camp trying to figure how World Cup journey came to abrupt end
Rushine de Reuck was inconsolable as he walked off the pitch at Cape Coast Sports Stadium in Ghana on Sunday night, and he clearly blamed himself for the penalty decision that led to the end of Bafana Bafana's qualifying journey for the 2022 World Cup.
The 25-year-old De Reuck's emotional state was understandable as Ghana had just beaten Bafana 1-0 through a dubious penalty awarded by Senegalese referee Maguette Ndiaye and his colleagues, who delivered one of the most shocking performances by a team of match officials seen in an international match.
The officials decided that De Reuck fouled Ghanaian Daniel Amartey inside the area when there was barely contact between the two players.
It is a decision that is being furiously debated across the continent, and one which will form the basis of a complaint that the SA Football Association (Safa) is taking to world governing body Fifa and the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
Safa believes there may have been match-fixing involved during the game and, besides insisting that the conduct of the Senegalese officials must be investigated, is also demanding that the World Cup qualifier be replayed at a neutral venue, not in Ghana.
This may offer some relief to a devastated De Reuck, but the player, his coach Hugo Broos, the nation's soccer lovers, and many neutrals across the globe are still trying to figure out what exactly happened at Cape Coast Sports Stadium on Sunday night.
The penalty awarded by Ndiaye may be the biggest talking point, but the outspoken Broos said he was also not happy that the Senegalese official allowed the Ghanaians to get away with a lot of aggressive challenges.
“I am not happy, I am really not happy with the way the referee allowed Ghana to play in an aggressive way.
"I have got nothing against that, but it must be the same for both sides. That was not the case [on Sunday]," he said.
Broos said he did not have a clear view of the penalty decision that was awarded to Ghana.
“It was very difficult to see from the bench. It was a corner, I think, and I do not know what happened there,” he said.
“Suddenly there was a player on the ground [Ghana's Amartey], I do not know what happened, but I saw [players] on the ground several times during the game.
“Did something happen or not? I don't know.
"I don't know, I could not see it, but my players were surprised that the referee blew for a penalty. He was lying down. Okay, whatever. What is the difference.”
The Bafana contingent will return to SA on Monday and Safa is then expected to address the nation on Wednesday, detailing how it plans to challenge the result, including the action to be taken against the match officials
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