28 January 2013

Nigeria/South Africa: Fumbling Egyptian Ref Sent Packing From Afcon

There was jubilation in Super Eagles camp yesterday afternoon as news filtered in that the Egyptian referee who awarded the dubious penalty against Nigeria to allow Zambia equalize their second game of Group C may have been sent home by CAF.

Grisha Ghead awarded the spot kick against Onazi Ogenyi for a supposed foul on Emmanuel Mayuka.

However, television replays of the tackle on the stadium scoreboard showed clearly that the offence was clearly outside the box, yet the referee went ahead to award a penalty.

CAF source hinted Sunday night that the leadership of the football body was unhappy with the decision following Nigeria's protest.

"He was sent home because of his mishandling of the match. Isa Hayatou, CAF President, admitted that the penalty call by the referee was wrong.

"If there was a foul, it was definitely outside the 18-yard-box, and not a penalty. Referees are not allowed to re-write the rule of the game," Hayatou was quoted to have told the Nigerian delegation.

A top NFF official however insisted Sunday night that the damage has been done and the sending away of the referee means little as it will not change the result of the match.

"It would have been meaningful if the decision have impact on the result but as we know it in football, the result stands, like Maradona's wicked 'Hand of God' goal," stressed the official.

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