Williams – What The Ref Told Me At Half-Time
Bafana Bafana captain Ronwen Williams has made several revelations about how his side were ill-treated by the match official before revealing what the Senegalese referee told him during an exchange at half-time.
Maguette N’Diaye is at the centre of match-manipulation claims, as confirmed by SAFA president Dr. Danny Jordaan during a lengthy press conference on Wednesday.
As part of the presser, several Bafana players explained their experience at Cape Coast stadium, while coach Hugo Broos also gave his thoughts.
Williams first praised his team for what they have achieved during the qualification campaign for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, saying they have a little hope that the game could be replayed.
“Obviously we feel disappointed but I’m proud of the boys and the team, and what we’ve achieved,” Williams said at Wednesday’s SAFA presser.
“It’s obviously sad for it to finish this way, but we’ve got that little belief now that things can be corrected, so hopefully things can get corrected and we can get a fair chance.
“What we have achieved in the last three months is amazing and for me being the captain of such a wonderful and young team, it’s a massive achievement for me.
“You know in camp, seeing all these young guys, trying to get Bafana back on track and I think we’ve achieved that.”
After focussing on his side, Williams also addressed several actions from around the game that he felt were not acted upon properly by the match official, who he says “targeted him” from before the game already.
“Coming to the game… When the referee comes to me before the game and says he is going to book me for time wasting, I already feel targeted.
“Already going into the game with that at the back of my mind, that I am a target and that he is looking at me.
“Throughout the qualifiers, the ball boys did not have the balls in their hand. The balls were on the cones. But in this specific game, the ball boys had the balls in their hands, which was unheard of in these qualifiers.
“Whenever the ball would go out, they would obviously restart it all very quickly and throw it back quickly, but the moment they scored, the ball boys disappeared, as you can imagine.
“It took long for the balls to get back and I wanted to speak to the referee to tell him that some of the balls are soft, but he did not want to hear anything about it. He said he would rather book me for time wasting. It was a bit of a challenge.
“In the second half, the ball boys practically vanished. If you can watch the game again, you will see me running for balls, I couldn’t find the ball and I think that’s where the ref should have stamped his authority and sorted it out.
“I mean coming to their goalkeeper… the moment they scored the goal, he took so much time.
“Not once did I see the referee speak to him. I think he only got booked in the last few minutes.
“From the 32nd minute when we conceded, up until the 90th minute, it’s 60 minutes in between, he was wasting time throughout for 60 minutes and not once did he get reprimanded, whereas I got reprimanded before the game, before we conceded for like 30 minutes he was reprimanding me.
“I did not waste time, because like I said the ball boys kept throwing the ball in immediately. so I felt targeted already.”
Williams also confirmed that he went up to the referee at the break to discuss his one-sided officiating, recalling their exchange.
“At half-time I went up to him and I asked him what the target was with our team,” he said.
“Because it feels like the physicality of Ghana he was allowing that. I said they are playing very physical and not challenging the ball, so he just told me that it’s a contact sport.
“I said ‘yes, but the rules must go for both teams’ and he just told me to get away cause he will book me.”
SAFA have lodged an official complaint with FIFA and are awaiting their response.