14 September 2017

Zimbabwe: Ntouba Gatecrashes Into Club of Red Cards Saga

When Dynamos' Cameroonian forward Christian Epoupa Ntouba lost his senses in a moment of madness at Rufaro on Sunday, he probably didn't imagine his subsequent expulsion would trigger a chain of events that would see his name trending throughout the football world.

Riled by a frustrating afternoon in which the dominance he has often enjoyed over the domestic Premiership's defenders, whom he had been bullying into submission, was countered by an ultra-physical approach by the Highlanders back-line, Ntouba snapped and head-butted Peter Muduhwa, the man who had been tasked with shadowing him.

It's the second big game in a year that Muduhwa has been head-butted by an opposition striker after the Bosso defender was also struck by CAPS United's then chief striker Leonard Tsipa at Barbourfields in a league match which the Green Machine eventually lost 0-1 as Highlanders took full advantage of their numerical superiority.

The Cameroonian didn't protest his dismissal, in an acknowledgement to referee Arnold Ncube he thoroughly deserved his punishment, and walked off to the dressing room to deal with the consequences of his moment of weakness in which, for the first time since his arrival here, his ice-cool temperament had betrayed him.

And, no one can blame him for the ugly drama which has followed, torched by a very controversial decision by the ZIFA Referees Committee to rescind his expulsion, after an equally ill-advised move by the Dynamos leadership to request for its nullification, with the decision being announced barely a day after Sunday's match.

The decision triggered a tremor of both discontent and disbelief, within the domestic football community, with CAPS United fans -- who lost the first edition of the Harare Derby when they were forced to play without their suspended chief striker Dominic Chungwa -- crying foul.

Some neutrals have also claimed the decision can be viewed as trying to give a helping hand to the Glamour Boys in their tough duel for the league title which features Chicken Inn, Ngezi Platinum and FC Platinum, a charge ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa has vigorously rejected.

Some Dynamos fans have joined the dissenting voices of those who feel the decision is fatally flawed and its execution, which would see Ntouba featuring in their next two league matches -- including the Harare Derby -- would be grossly unfair.

They have turned to social media for their crusade, appealing to their coaches not to field Ntouba in the next two league matches, saying doing so would devalue their success in the event the Glamour Boys go all the way and are crowned champions this season.

"I do not like it (the red card reversal), as an avid Dynamos FC supporter since 1985 when listening over the radio to my debut entrance in the giant National Sports stadium (1995) when Morgan Nkathazo made Peter Fanwell bite the dust just nine seconds into the first half and I almost cried," Tapiwa Jumoh, wrote to this newspaper.

"But I later smiled out of this NSS after Dynamos recovered via Vitalis Takawira and Simon Chuma/Tauya Mrehwa, the first game when LLyod Mutasa rejoined from Tanganda and Geoffrey Paradza was exceptional.

"This decision is a complete practice of in-house apartheid and can be (wrongly) interpreted by those with a soft-spot for Highlanders. If I made decisions at Dynamos I will not play Christian for the two following games."

The Premier Soccer League have also plunged into the drama by saying as far as they are concerned, Ntouba remains suspended for DeMbare's next two league matches because there were some procedural flaws in the way the Glamour Boys took their case to the ZIFA Referees Committee.

The PSL said the Dynamos leadership should have deposited a $1 000 fine in protest with the league, in the event they were not happy with some issues related to the game, even though those areas shouldn't touch on decisions made by the referee which the league said was final.

Sports Minister Makhosini Hlongwane said it was important for domestic football leaders to respect the conflict resolution mechanism in the game.

Critics of the ZIFA leadership, especially Chiyangwa, have also been feasting on the drama that has followed Monday's announcement of the nullification of the red card, with some suggesting this should go into the Guinness Book of Records, for all the wrong reasons, because it was a first in world football.

But, is that the case?

Well, it appears Ntouba has, unwillingly, been dragged into a league of red cards saga by the events of the past few days.

ANDY HALLIDAY, RANGERS MIDFIELDER, JANUARY 2016

Rangers midfielder Andy Halliday had his red card against Hibernian, for violent conduct after seemingly attacking Fraser Fyvie of Hibernian in a Scottish Premiership match on December 28, 2015, rescinded by the country's football authorities.

Instead, Fyvie -- who was struck in the chest by Halliday, was later banned for two games for simulation after holding his head in the immediate aftermath despite the contact being chest-to-chest.

Rangers appealed and a Scottish Football Association tribunal panel ruled in their player's favour. "The red card shown to Andy Halliday in last week's 4-2 victory over Hibernian has been reduced to a yellow card following a successful appeal by Rangers," the club said.

"The midfielder was dismissed for violent conduct for an alleged head-butt on Fraser Fyvie, but after the Hibs player was banned for simulation, Halliday's red was reduced to a caution for adopting a threatening and/or aggressive attitude.

"He is therefore free to play in this weekend's Scottish Cup tie with Cowdenbeath."

RYAN JACK, RANGERS MIDFIELDER, AUGUST 2017

Jack was sent off by referee John Beaton last month in his team's 2-3 defeat to Hibernian after clashing with forward Anthony Stokes.

The referee, John Beaton, ruled that Jack had head-butted Stokes.

Television replays showed that the midfielder moved his head towards Hibs striker Anthony Stokes in an apparent head-butt.

The case was heard by a Scottish FA panel and the referee's decision, which would have seen Jack miss both the Hearts and Ross County, was overturned on appeal.

The same tribunal also overturned one of the red cards shown to Motherwell defender Charles Dunne.

ADRIAN FORBES, LUTON TOWN STRIKER

Forbes, the leading scorer at Luton Town then, was sent off in the 2-2 draw against Stockport County for head-butting Danny Jackman but referee Alan Butler's decision was reversed by the English Football League tribunal.

WEST HAM'S LUCKY RED CARD CHARM

Four of the last five West Ham players to be sent off have won their appeals --and on top of that twice video panels issued retrospective bans against opposition players who should have been given their marching orders at the time.

KOMPANY LEADS THE LUCKY CONTROVERSIAL BRIGADE

Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany, sent off by referee Mike Dean for a challenge on Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, had his red card and subsequent three-match ban overturned.

He leads a list of high-profile footballers who have succeeded in that endeavour, with all the controversy associated with that, who include Darron Gibson, Carlton Cole, Anthony Gerrard, Adam Smith, Wayne Routledge and Sofiane Feghouli.

Ntouba is the latest addition to this controversial brigade although, unlike the others -- where the regulations are very clear that an appeal against an expulsion can be tolerated by the football chiefs -- his case is different in that the PSL say there is no provision for that in the regulations governing the domestic game.

From Page 16fication of the red card, with some suggesting this should go into the Guinness Book of Records, for all the wrong reasons, because it was a first in world football. But, is that the case?Well, it appears Ntouba has, unwillingly, been dragged into a league of red cards saga by the events of the past few days. ANDY HALLIDAY, RANGERS MIDFIELDER, JANUARY 2016Rangers midfielder Andy Halliday had his red card against Hibernian, for violent conduct after seemingly attacking Fraser Fyvie of Hibernian in a Scottish Premiership match on December 28, 2015, rescinded by the country's football authorities.Instead, Fyvie -- who was struck in the chest by Halliday, was later banned for two games for simulation after holding his head in the immediate aftermath despite the contact being chest-to-chest. Rangers appealed and a Scottish Football Association tribunal panel ruled in their player's favour. "The red card shown to Andy Halliday in last week's 4-2 victory over Hibernian has been reduced to a yellow card following a successful appeal by Rangers," the club said. "The midfielder was dismissed for violent conduct for an alleged head-butt on Fraser Fyvie, but after the Hibs player was banned for simulation, Halliday's red was reduced to a caution for adopting a threatening and/or aggressive attitude. "He is therefore free to play in this weekend's Scottish Cup tie with Cowdenbeath."RYAN JACK, RANGERS MIDFIELDER, AUGUST 2017Jack was sent off by referee John Beaton last month in his team's 2-3 defeat to Hibernian after clashing with forward Anthony Stokes. The referee, John Beaton, ruled that Jack had head-butted Stokes. Television replays showed that the midfielder moved his head towards Hibs striker Anthony Stokes in an apparent head-butt. The case was heard by a Scottish FA panel and the referee's decision, which would have seen Jack miss both the Hearts and Ross County, was overturned on appeal. The same tribunal also overturned one of the red cards shown to Motherwell defender Charles Dunne.ADRIAN FORBES, LUTON TOWN STRIKER Forbes, the leading scorer at Luton Town then, was sent off in the 2-2 draw against Stockport County for head-butting Danny Jackman but referee Alan Butler's decision was reversed by the English Football League tribunal.

WEST HAM'S LUCKY RED CARD CHARMFour of the last five West Ham players to be sent off have won their appeals --and on top of that twice video panels issued retrospective bans against opposition players who should have been given their marching orders at the time.KOMPANY LEADS THE LUCKY CONTROVERSIAL BRIGADEManchester City skipper Vincent Kompany, sent off by referee Mike Dean for a challenge on Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, had his red card and subsequent three-match ban overturned. He leads a list of high-profile footballers who have succeeded in that endeavour, with all the controversy associated with that, who include Darron Gibson, Carlton Cole, Anthony Gerrard, Adam Smith, Wayne Routledge and Sofiane Feghouli.Ntouba is the latest addition to this controversial brigade although, unlike the others -- where the regulations are very clear that an appeal against an expulsion can be tolerated by the football chiefs -- his case is different in that the PSL say there is no provision for that in the regulations governing the domestic game.

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