Safa CEO Tebogo Motlanthe talks tough: Bafana will host Ghana in Joburg and nowhere else
South African Football Association (Safa) CEO Tebogo Motlanthe is adamant that Bafana Bafana's crucial Africa Cup of Nations Cup qualifier against Ghana will be played at FNB Stadium on March 25 as originally planned and this will not change.
Motlanthe moved swiftly to dismiss claims that the game could be played outside the country due to the Ghanaians' Covid-19 fears and lashed out at news outlets that have said the West Africans asked the Confederation of African Football (Caf) to move the match to a neutral venue.
“To put it on the record‚ I have been talking to the secretary of the Ghana FA, where we were discussing this important match between us and them in South Africa.
“Nobody has at any stage mentioned that the Ghana FA doesn’t want to play in SA‚ it’s only the media‚” said Motlanthe.
“The match between Bafana Bafana and Ghana is going to take place at Soccer City at 6pm on March 25 and we have received all communication from Caf to this effect.
“I don’t want to comment on hearsay and please don’t refer me to a certain website which you are seeing for the first time. The problem with South Africans is that we want to believe whatever news we come across.”
Motlanthe said recent reports that claimed the Ghanaians want to move the match to a neutral venue were misinformation, as none of the purveyors behind these stories have produced proof to back up their allegations.
“I ask anyone to give me a letter from Caf to Safa stating that Ghana wants to move the match. Ghana may stand up and say that this is fake news because we have never received any complaint from Ghana to this regard.”
The match is a must-win for Bafana as three points will see them overtake Ghana at the top of their group with 12 points‚ and almost certainly ensure qualification for the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon next year.
The claims gained credence after Morocco and Algeria recently denied Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns entry into their countries for Champions League matches against Wydad Casablanca and CR Belouizdad respectively.
The match between Chiefs and Wydad was eventually played at a neutral venue in Burkina Faso with Amakhosi handed a 4-0 hiding by the experienced Moroccans, while Sundowns thrashed CR Belouizdad 5-1 in Tanzania.
Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki will announce the squad to face Ghana and Sudan at a press briefing to be held at Safa House in Johannesburg on Thursday.