Super Eagles players have sent a passionate plea to officiating officials at the ongoing AFCON 2013 Nations Cup to ensure fairness in handling its remaining games, even as it hopes to make the quarters when they clash with Ethiopia on Tuesday.
Reacting to Friday’s shock officiating by the Egyptian referee, which earned Zambia a controversial penalty at the dying minutes of the game, team skipper, Joseph Yobo, said though he would not want to question the officials, he would appeal for fairness, so that the best team would 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”.
Defender Azubuike Egwueke, said he was shocked from the bench area when the referee pointed to the spot, adding that Confederation of African Football, CAF, should help us plead with the referees to be fair to all the teams.
Sunday Mba, who is yet to taste action at the championship, spoke in similar vein, saying that even officials in Nigeria’s opening game against Burkina Faso seemed to have had 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.
Meanwhile, the Super Eagles will on Sunday morning depart for Rustenberg from Nelspruit, where they will play their final game against Ethiopia on Tuesday.
The team will leave Nelspruit at 9 a.m. for a flight to Pilanesburge Airport and arrive there at about 11:35 a.m. from where it will go by road to Rustenberg.
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 firm embrace.
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