Ghana’s soccer governing body has reacted angrily to accusations that a final group World Cup qualifying game played between “the Black Stars,” its national team, and South Africa was fixed.
The Ghana Football Association (GFA) said in a statement to FIFA dated November 14 that the insinuations made by South Africa’s soccer association were unfounded and should be dismissed with a “punitive fine and a huge cost.”
“The South African Football Association (SAFA) has cast fake doubts on the integrity of the World Cup brand and the Black Stars, sadly without any shred of evidence, and this should be punished severely,” the GFA wrote.
A day after the controversial game, SAFA demanded a full investigation by FIFA’s disciplinary committee. It also launched an official protest in relation to alleged “match-fixing and match manipulation” and the alleged “wrongful and unlawful conduct of the match referee and other officials.”
The South African team, nicknamed “Bafana Bafana,” visited Ghana’s Cape Coast Sports Stadium eight days ago needing to avoid defeat to gain automatic qualification for Qatar 2022.
Their hosts needed to win by just one goal to draw level on points and secure the single qualifying spot themselves by virtue of a superior goal difference.
The game hinged on an incident in the 32nd minute when Ghana midfielder Daniel Amartey fell to the ground inside the box with little apparent contact from South Africa defender Rushine de Reuck.
Senegalese referee Maguette N’Diaye’ awarded a penalty, which was converted by Ghana’s Andre Ayew. The referee also yellow-carded de Reuck
It was the only goal in a game in which very few referring decisions went South Africa’s way.
While it may hold no bearing on this game, Ghana and match-fixing have a history, at least within the country’s domestic league.
In 2018, a documentary by Ghanian investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas led to the resignation of then-GFA president Kwesi Nyantakyi. He was filmed apparently soliciting bribes.
Anas uncovered widespread match-fixing, implicating an extraordinary 77 Ghanaian referees and 14 GFA officials in various acts of corruption.
In September, a player who had previously been hailed a hero for taking a stand against match-fixing was himself charged with manipulating a game.
Inter Allies’ defender Hashmin Musah scored two deliberate own goals during his team’s 7-0 defeat to Ashanti Gold in Ghanaian Premier League.
Musah claimed he was attempting to sabotage a plot to fix the game at 5-0 for the benefit of a gambling syndicate.
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