SA not distracted by Eq Guinea off-field dramaThomas Kwenaite
It is now official and the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAF) has rejected Kenya’s appeal following their ejection from the African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) and cheating Equatorial Guinea reinstated and latter have already played and lost 5-0 to Zambia.
Equatorial Guinea were found guilty by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Disciplinary Committee of fielding Annette Jacky Messomo (who was discovered to be a Cameroonian national) when they eliminated Kenya 3-2 on aggregate during qualifiers for the tournament staged in Ghana.
But after kicking Equatorial Guinea out of the tournament and installing Kenya, CAF reversed that decision a week ago and reinstated Equatorial Guinea, which forced Kenya to appeal to the (CAS) seeking to either stop the tournament or reinstate them.
The decision is seen in some quarters as a miscarriage of justice especially because Equatorial Guinea are banned from participating in the 2019 FIFA World Cup even if they win this tournament which serves as a qualifier for the FIFA Mundial or finish among the top three.
“The final decision by the President of the Appeals Board was to reject our application for provisional measures and we fully understand and respect the decision of CAS,” said the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) in a statement.
“This does not end the case. Our appeal against CAF is still open and we continue to fight for justice to be done in the same way to repair the harm that has been caused to our Harambee Stars and the people of our nation.
“We will continue to fight at CAS in order to demonstrate that the federation and we as the people will not sit back and simply accept routine and blatant regulatory breaches that impact the progression of our teams, national or otherwise.”
But South Africa, who lie second to Zambia on goal difference in Group be of the ongoing AWCON in the Gold Coast City of Ghana, will not be distracted by off-field events around the Equatorial Guinea side they meet in their second match this evening.
They will neither read too much in their humiliating 5-0 loss to Zambia in their opening match but will treat their opponents with the utmost respect and approach the game with the same determination they displayed when they faced Nigeria.
“We watched their match against Zambia,” said Banyana Banyana midfielder Leandra Smeda. “You could see that they had not prepared properly due to the fact that they were unsure whether they would take part in the tournament or not. But that should not distract from our own preparations.”
Banyana got off to a bright start, never allowing perennial nemesis Nigeria any room to dictate or dominate and eventually delivered a hammer blow to the Super Falcons when they scored a last gasp goal to emerge 1-0 victors in their opening match.
Coach Desiree Ellis started speedy Linda Kgatlana on the bench and brought her in the second half where she caused untold damage with her pace, which the Nigerians found difficult to deal with but that game is gone and they now need to concentrate on today’s match.
A win over Equatorial Guinea will ensure qualification for the knockout stage but Banyana Banyana do not want to get too far ahead of themselves and will take it one game at a time, according to defensive midfielder Refiloe Jane who has been given freedom to forage forward in recent games and she has repaid the confidence of the technical team with crucial goals.