Expelled referee Joseph Odartei Lamptey has broken silence following his error in a Fifa World Cup qualifier that landed him a lifetime ban by Fifa, saying it was genuine.
A manufactured penalty which helped South Africa to defeat Senegal in November 2016 led to a Fifa investigation whose outcome categorized the incident under match manipulation on the part of the Ghanaian.
Lamptey awarded a first half penalty to the Bafana Bafana after adjudging Kalidou Koulibaly to have handled the ball in his own penalty area when it rather had clearly touched the thigh of the defender.
Fifa issued a ruling on the matter but Lamptey appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sports. His exercise was rendered fruitless as Cas upheld the decision of the world football governing body in September.
Few weeks after his ban came into full force, Joseph Lamptey was caught up by a Senegal News Agency reporter Salif Diallo while on his normal duty as a Ghana Immigration Officer at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra.
Deciding to speak about the incident, the 40-year-old denies deliberately taking decisions to harm the West Africans.
Without waiting for the first questions – “What happened on that day in Polokwane and why?” – he starts from a long lecture, recounting his closeness with Senegal and the Senegalese referees in a chat on Monday September 25 with the APS reporter who was returning home after covering the just ended Wafu Cup of Nations.
“In fact, on the occasion of an international match played in Bissau, I had the honor of having received a Senegalese referee who came to spend the night in my hotel …” reminds the former referee, the index pointed to the chest.
According to him, he was helped by a psychologist to pass that bad head marked by sports chess hostile to his image, after the match between the Teranga Lions and Bafana Bafana in Polokwane, South Africa.
“I really like Senegal, I can assure you that I have been deeply grieved for having harmed this country, and my mistake was never intentional,” Lamptey said.
“This is really a mistake”
“Tell me if you, as a journalist, make mistakes, yes or no?” says Joseph Lampety. And without waiting for the answer, he continues his own defense: It is truly a human error but never did I want to do something against Senegal or its interests.
“My wife, on my return from South Africa, stopped me and asked me what I did to the Senegalese people and I said to her and repeated the same thing: + It is a huge mistake committed against a country that I love.”
Fifa has ordered the replay of the South Africa-Senegal match they found to have been manipulated by referee Lamptey later this November.
Following the order, Senegal is currently 3rd in Group D with 5 points (+2), behind Cape Verde, 2nd with 6 points (-2). Burkina Faso lead the group with 6 points (+2) and South Africa, which had won (2-1) this match, has only one point with the cancellation of the result of this match.