AFCON 2013: ‘Is CAF out to get Nigeria out of African Nations Cup?’
Lagos, Nigeria – A US football analyst, Mr. Austin Akabueze, has accused the Confederation of African Football (CAF) of working against Nigeria’s participation in the current African Nations Cup in South Africa.
“There must be a nexus between Nigeria’s decision not pay the inflated cost for television coverage and the current deluge of referees’ poor decisions,’ Mr. Akabueze, a veteran Nigerian Journalist, said while reacting to the award of penalty to Zambia in the closing minutes of the their encounter against Nigeria.
In a statement, received here Sunday by PANA, Mr. Akabueze said: ‘The referee was well positioned to see that the tussle between Onazi and the Zambian player was outside the box and knows that the penalty was not deserved. In football, the defender who was better positioned with the ball should have gotten the call and not the attacker.”
“The decision coupled with the very biased officiating in the first match against Burkina Faso, clearly showed that these are not mere mistakes anymore,’ Mr. Akabueze, a former Sports Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) and later Editor-in-Chief of the African Quest, based in US.
Mr. Akabueze warned that the credibility of the African Nations Cup could be blunted by poor officiating, pointing to incidents where the goalkeepers of Burkina Faso and Ethiopia were punished with red card for an offence which their counterpart from Ghana was only given a yellow card.
“A lot of my friends in the US who are watching the African Nations Cup have expressed surprise at the poor officiating,” Mr. Akabueze said and expressed concern that the CAF is fast losing its credibility as an ethical organization.
“Despite my belief that Stephen Keshi has done a poor job as Eagles coach and did not select Nigeria’s best legs, the results so far should have been favorable to the Super Eagles, but for the referees,’ Mr. Akabueze concluded.