Cape Town - Who shot the sheriff? A parody on this time-worn question might well pose an equally intriguing question as to who bribed referee Joseph Lamptey to manipulate the outcome of the 2018 World Cup qualifying game in which Bafana Bafana gained a shock 2-1 victory over group favourites Senegal?
Lamptey, as we learnt in the past week, has been banned for life from all soccer activities by FIFA for awarding South Africa a phantom penalty that turned the game against Senegal - and making other highly debatable and crucial decisions over the course of the 90 minutes of play.
FIFA surely would not have been so reckless to impose such a severe sentence on the Ghanaian referee on the basis of him making hair-raising mistakes, no matter how material the errors ultimately proved.
After all, even soccer referees are human and are capable of making horrendous blunders.
What is more, it has to be assumed that FIFA has concrete evidence to support the severity of the justice imposed on Lamptey for their uncompromising action.
And if Lamptey was indeed bribed, who did the bribing in the first place?
That is the 64 000 dollar question!
FIFA has already stated that it will decide on the outcome of the hot potato Bafana-Senegal game when the Lamptey issue has reached a final conclusion - presumably suggesting after any appeals that might be lodged against the life ban are exhausted in one way or another.
If the life ban remains in force, FIFA will surely have no other recourse but to order a replay of the Bafana-Senegal game in view of its paramount importance.
But it could get worse! If it is proved that anyone associated in an official capacity with the South African soccer administration was a party to the manipulation, the three points at stake could even be reversed and awarded to Senegal.
And the repercussions could escalate to a far more dire and incriminating level as well if FIFA come up with any evidence to this effect.
In the meantime the time bomb is ticking - and one can only parody the question: who shot the sheriff?