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Match fixing in African World Cup qualification give Hammers a replay

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Cheikou Kouyate and Diafra Sakho will get another shot at qualification this November

Olympics Day 5 - Men's Football - Senegal v United Arab Emirates Photo by Francis Bompard/Getty Images

Joseph Lamptey, of Ghana, was in charge of the officiating in a 2-1 victory over Senegal by South Africa last November. In that match, there was a controversial penalty called in the box for a handball by Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly. After further review, and much insistence by Senegal Football Federation and head coach Aliou Cisse, video evidence showed the ball clearly hit the knee, instead of the ruled hand.

Whether or not Lamptey saw the ball hit the knee or the hand is anyone’s guess. Unless you’re FIFA, of course. FIFA decided not to give the benefit of the doubt and passed a lifetime ban on the former referee, ensuring he’ll never officiate another match again. FIFA found Lamptey guilty of breaking laws that protect against "unlawfully influencing match results."

“All cheating and stealing will be punished according to its gravity.” - FSF vice-president Abdoulaye Sow

Senegal is currently one point behind Burkina Faso in qualification, so the opportunity to make up for those dropped points last November is massive, with the potential to see Senegal on top of the table.

How does this all play out for Diafra Sakho and Cheikhou Kouyate? Well should health not remain a factor, they will surely be called in to play in a match that was not planned for by Slaven or the organization. Given the sensitive nature of both players’ health, I’m not sure more matches away from a Premier League campaign, that’s already seen it’s fair share of struggles, most prudent. On the other hand, playing for your country in the World Cup is every player’s dream and obviously a huge boost for the West Ham United organization.

The replay is set for the next international break in November, but no date has been locked in just yet.

What a strange year it has been...