SA football's 'lucky charm' Abid Charef to referee Bafana vs Cape Verde
With South Africa having already been embroiled in refereeing controversy in this 2018 World Cup qualification campaign‚ all eyes will be on Algerian match official Mehdi Abid Charef when they clash with Cape Verde Islands in Praia on Friday‚ but he has proven something of a lucky charm for South African teams in the recent past.
Charef has proven something of a lucky charm for South African teams in the recent past.
Bafana benefited from the bias of Ghana referee Joseph Lamptey in their 2-1 qualifier victory over Senegal late last year‚ with the match official having since been banned for life by FIFA for his crooked performance.
Lamptey had reportedly been paid by betting syndicates to ensure a 2-1 win for South Africa‚ a controversy that will have refocused FIFA’s attention on the African qualifiers for Russia 2018.
And Charef has been in the middle for some of the more notable results for South African teams in recent years‚ which the country will hope is a good omen ahead of the clash against the Cape Verde.
He was the referee when Bafana won 3-0 in Sudan at the start of the qualifiers for the 2015 African Nations Cup finals‚ and also officiated a crucial 3-2 victory for the Under-23 team over Zambia on their way to the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games last year.
He was in charge of Orlando Pirates’ vital 4-3 African Confederation Cup semifinal victory away at Egyptian giants Al Ahly in 2015‚ and also officiated Mamelodi Sundowns as they booked an African Champions League final place with a 2-0 win over Zesco United in the semifinal‚ second leg last year.
And he officiated again for Sundowns in their 1-0 victory over Ethiopian side St George in the group stages of the Champions League in 2017‚ though he did give a penalty to the hosts that was saved by Dennis Onyango.
He will officiate on Friday along with his assistants Abdelhak Etchiali (Algeria) and Anouar Hmila (Tunisia).
Charef is considered one of the top referees on the continent and officiated at the 2017 Nations Cup finals‚ including in the third-place play-off defeat for Ghana against Burkina Faso.