Referee of the 2018 World Cup qualifier of November 12, 2016 between South Africa and Senegal says his decision to award a penalty in favour of Bafana Bafana was a ‘human error’.
The game ended 2-1 in favour of the host but Senegal officials filed a complaint, describing the call as an ‘imaginary penalty’, leading to Fifa’s handing a lifetime ban to the official known as Joseph Lamptey.
The match has been cancelled and a replay will hold in November.
However, Lamptey claims his behaviour on the pitch was not personal and that he had no intention to punish Senegal.
“I love Senegal. I can tell you that I had a deep pain for offending the country due to my decision in that match,” Lamptey told Senegal news agency (APS).
“My error was never intentional. Tell me, does it happen to you sometimes as a journalist to make mistakes?
“It was a mistake, just a human error. There was no time I intended to hurt Senegal or fight against their interest.
“When I returned from South Africa, my wife queried me on what I did to Senegal team. I told her the same thing that it was a big mistake I committed against a country that I love so much,” he said.
Burkina Faso, leaders of Group D with 6 points, have complained to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) demanding the cancellation of the rematch between South Africa and Senegal.
The court is yet to give a decision.