Ghana Football Association has lashed out at the South African Football Association for “shocking, irresponsible, and outright disrespect” in the wake of the latter’s 1-0 defeat to the former in the 2022 World Cup qualifier on Sunday.
In what was a must-win final Group G matchday game for the Black Stars to reach the next round of the qualifiers, Andre Ayew converted a first-half penalty for the solitary goal, which ultimately sent the West Africans level on points but with a better goal record to progress to the third and final round.
A series of events, particularly the penalty, have generated controversy, amid complaints from the visitors that Senegalese referee Maguette N’Diaye allegedly planned frustration tactics. Safa has gone on to lodge a complaint with Fifa over possible match manipulation.
“The Ghana Football Association (GFA) has closely monitored developments in South Africa, both by the Football Association and the media after the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 final Group “G” game between the four-time African Cup of Nations (Afcon) Winners and three-time World Cup participants and World Cup quarter-finalists, the Black Stars, and the South Africa national team, Bafana Bafana at the Cape Coast stadium,” the GFA said in a statement on Thursday.
“It is shocking, irresponsible, and outright disrespect to note that our colleagues from South Africa Football Association (with whom we have good relationships with and mutual sporting respect) have chosen to spread falsehoods to the media rather than project the real picture of events before, during and after the game.
“First and foremost, before the game itself, lies about the distance between Accra and Cape Coast were released to the extent that it was alleged that the South African football team took nine (9) hours to make the journey from Accra to Cape Coast after they arrived in Ghana. Then again, the official handle also tweeted during the match that the South African team was being intimidated, molested, and robbed in Cape Coast.”
In a press conference on Thursday, Safa president Danny Jordaan made a series of allegations, stating Ghana were desperate to win at all costs because a defeat would have economic effect on the country, and also possibly affect the reign of head of state Nana Akufo-Addo.
Ghana’s statement rejected Safa’s “foundation of lies”, emphasising the drive time from national capital Accra to Cape Coast where the match was played was two hours and not nine as bandied around.
The “shocked” Ghana FA went on to describe their counterparts’ behaviour as “incompetent” and “irresponsible” and said the series of allegations are nothing but “frivolous, baseless and lack merits and should be treated with all the contempt that deserved”.
Both teams have participated in the World Cup on three occasions.