Vanguard (Lagos)

28 January 2013

Nigeria: Afcon - Eagles Beg Refs for Fairness

Super Eagles players have sent a passionate plea to officiating officials at the ongoing Afcon 2013 Nations Cup, to be fair to the team in their remaining games, even as they hope to make the quarters when they clash with Ethiopia on Tuesday.

Reacting to Friday's shock officiating, which culminated in a dubious penalty award to Zambia by the Egyptian referee, team skipper, Joseph Yobo, said why he would not want to question the officials he will want to appeal for fairness, so that the best team will always win.

Yobo's assistant Vincent Enyeama, was more direct in his reaction. "It was a bizarre officiating, the worst penalty award I have ever seen in my entire football career, only God knows why they are doing this to us".

Gangling defender, Azubuike Egwueke, said he was shocked from the bench area when the referee pointed to the spot.

"It was like a dream and I was asking whether it was a penalty award or free-kick against Zambia, CAF should help us plead with the referees to be fair to the team". Sunday Mba, who is yet to taste action at the championship, spoke in similar vein, saying that even officials of Nigeria's opening game against Burkina Faso seem to have a hidden agenda.

On his part Ogenyi Onazi, who was alleged to have caused the penalty, said he's still at a loss over the referee's call. "The opposing Zambian player was the one who was pulling me, shoving and almost pulled down my pants and we were not even in the 18 yard box when the referee called for a penalty. CAF should please tell them to stop killing African football", he said.

Similarly, Super Eagles Head Coach, Stephen Keshi and Football Association of Zambia (FAZ), President, Kalusha Bwalya showed no animosity towards each other after the controversial 1-1 draw between both countries on Friday.

The duo hugged, patted themselves on the back and recalled the heroic days of football when they were the sign-posts of their two nations.

"Present day players need to borrow a leaf from us on how to be true legends of the game", Kalusha said with journalists snapping away at the duo in fir

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