9 October 2017

Uganda/Ghana: Ghana Protest May Not Achieve Much

Kampala — Egypt, who played their penultimate 2018 World Cup qualifier at home to Congo last night, will have as well continued with their business and cared less about the mess between Uganda and Ghana.

The latter skirmished to a goalless draw in Kampala on Saturday albeit under controversial circumstances, which forced the Ghanaian FA to lodge a protest to world governing body Fifa.

Ghana had a goal from Raphael Dwamena ruled out for offside in stoppage time, although TV replays showed that Ugandan defender Isaac Isinde kept the striker well onside before he stole behind to bundle home a rebound.

"Mr Bennett (Frazer, the South African referee) and assistants denied Ghana a perfect goal in the 93rd minute with television replays showing that it was a perfect goal," reads in part Ghana's protest.

"The referee also denied Ghana a penalty earlier in the second half when Ghana midfielder Frank Acheampong was brought down in the box."

The above relates to Ugandan right back Nicholas Wadada bundling down Acheampong in the forbidden area, a moment hosts' fans held their breath in relief at escaping punishment

"The GFA respectfully asks Fifa to consider the possibility of a replay in order to serve the ends of justice without fear or favour."

Precedent

The disallowed goal, which saw Ghana players surrounded match officials after the final whistle, left Black Stars coach Kwesi Appiah mystified.

"I think it was a good goal because the goalkeeper punched back the ball." For his counterpart, Moses Basena, it was a case of three points lost. "We shall keep working hard because this is a young team," he said.

A precedent was set in African football early September when Fifa ordered a replay of a World Cup qualifier between South Africa and Senegal after the latter last November successfully protested Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey's questionable performance.

Indeed, Fifa banned the official for life in March after he was found to have manipulated the match, which Bafana Bafana won 2-1, allegedly on behalf of betting syndicates in Hong Kong and Singapore.

And after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) dismissed Lamptey's appeal, the soccer body went ahead mid-September to order a replay, which is due November 10. It is against this background Ghana feel they have a genuine case, and their protest leaves Fifa in an uncomfortable position.

Implications

Ghana will hope Fifa hear their prayers, but Uganda - given their recent results against the Black Stars at Namboole - would definitely not mind a replay, especially since they did not win this just ended one.

However, this whole hullabaloo, as you read, could have been ended by Egypt last night, because the Pharaohs victory over Congo - assuming they won - would mean that even if Ghana won the replay in Kampala, they still could not catch their final day opponents.

Egypt's draw with Congo would of course have left all to play for in Ghana but with the little time left between now and the final match day on November 6, little is expected from Fifa.

Asked for a response to Ghana's petition, Fufa communications head Ahmed Hussein said "Both Ghana and Uganda are participants, so Fufa can't do the job of assessing the referees who officiated our game."

Fifa took close to four months to complete investigations into Lamptey's case. Only 28 days are left to the final match day. Indeed, unless Egypt dropped points last night, Ghana's protest will be rendered irrelevant.

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