20 November 2013
Bafana Bafana’s upset 1-0 victory over world number one Spain on Tuesday will not be reflected in the Fifa world rankings, Fifa’s media office said on Wednesday.
South Africa’s Eye Witness News contacted Fifa for clarification about the matter and were told that because Spain used a seventh substitute in Tuesday’s match it could not be classified as a category A game. Therefore no caps will be earned and the match will not be recorded as an official result.
However, it appears that the matter is not yet closed, as a Fifa spokesman told Eye Witness News that they are still are still awaiting the official report for analysis and to consider their next steps.
The seventh substitution
Late in the match at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, Spanish goalkeeper Victor Valdez, who had replaced Iker Casillas during the game, suffered an injury. Spain had already used the maximum allowable six substitutes by that time, so outfielder Alvaro Arbeloa donned a goalkeeper’s jersey.
South Africa’s coach Gordon Igesund was then seen remonstrating with officials and Spanish players as Napoli goalie Pepe Reina moved to join the game. After an exchange of words between Igesund and a number of players and officials, Reina was allowed to replace Valdez and became the world champions’ seventh substitute.
‘The rules of the game’
“I was not fighting on the sidelines, I was just informing them that they had already made six substitutes as per the rules of the game and also from our agreement in the meeting a day before the match,” Igesund said at a press conference after the game.
“I also added that if they want to make another change it is up to the match officials, but I think the rules are rules and they shouldn’t be changed, even if it is a friendly match.
“I was not refusing them to put on another player, and was quite happy for them to get on another player in terms of fair play. I think it was a misunderstanding due to a language barrier,” he added.
A welcome boost
South Africa’s 1-0 victory was their first win over a team ranked number one in the world. It came as a welcome boost after Bafana Bafana missed out on qualifying for the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil.
The focus of the team, Igesund said would be the big forthcoming competitions. “Our vision remains the 2015 and 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, as well as the 2018 World Cup in Russia.