Safa scores ‘away goal’ for Bafana Bafana Nations Cup qualifiers against São Tomé
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CAPE TOWN – It took some skillful administrative work on the part of South African Football Association (Safa) officials to ensure that the Bafana Bafana play their African Cup of Nations qualifying match against São Tomé at home.
As a result, the away game will now be played in Port Elizabeth, instead of Bafana traveling to the central African island country of São Tomé.
Safa and the Sao Tome Football Federation have officially entered into a landmark Memorandum of Understanding which ensures that home and away matches are played in South Africa.
The home match will take place on Friday 13 November at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. The away game will take place on Monday, November 16 at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
Part of the MoU reads as follows: “The Sao Tomean Football Federation undertakes to play its home match in Second Party territory and Safa undertakes to host the home and away matches. outside on its territory.
“All disputes relating to this Memorandum of Understanding, including disputes relating to its conclusion, binding effect, modification, violation or termination, urgent injunction or similar interim measure, or provisional measure shall be quickly settled between the parties by negotiation.
“The two countries agreed that this historic arrangement which has since been relayed to CAF was precipitated by the restriction of flights to the African continent and the health dangers posed by the coronavirus pandemic. “
The agreement was motivated by the logistical challenges posed by the Covid19 pandemic. If the deal had not been reached, both sides would have flown to São Tomé just after the game in Durban.
Safa will pay the bill for the visiting team and officials during their stay in South Africa.
The Bafana are part of Ghana-led Group C, undefeated after beating the Bafana 2-0 in November 2019, at Cape Coast Sports Stadium in Ghana.
Playing back-to-back home games will help Bafana Bafana (71st ranked globally) score maximum points against the 182nd ranked nation.