Poor refereeing, highlighted by glaringly shocking decisions in a number of matches, has tainted an otherwise well-organised 2013 African Cup of Nations tournament.
Tunisian referee Slim Jdidi has been banned following his performance in Wednesday night’s semi-final between Burkina Faso and Ghana in Nelspruit.
Egyptian referee Grisha Ghead was sent home earlier in the tournament after his poor performance in the match between Nigeria and Zambia.
In a decision that could have changed the face of this weekend’s Africa Cup of Nations final, Burkina Faso playmaker Jonathan Pitroipa, clearly fouled, received marching orders from Jdidi for an alleged dive.
To their credit the Burkinabes fought on with 10 men and advanced to the final after beating Ghana 3-2 in the penalty shoot-out.
Jdidi though is on his way home.
Meanwhile, Pitroipa has been cleared to play in the Africa Cup of Nations final against Nigeria today after his ban was rescinded.
Jdidi admitted that he mistakenly issued the winger with a second yellow card for simulation in the semi-final against Ghana.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) confirmed on Friday that the resulting ban would be overturned.
A senior CAF official told Reuters: “The referee wrote the letter to the review committee, saying he had made a mistake. The review committee examined footage of the incident and agreed Pitroipa had been fouled.
“It asked the disciplinary committee to verify its decision, which [it] is entitled to do under the terms of CAF’s rules and regulations.”
Burkina Faso media officer Gabriel Nacoulma welcomed CAF’s ruling ahead of the showpiece decider.
FAM referees subcommittee chairperson James Mwenda believes Malawian referees would have dune much better than some of those who officiated at this year’s Afcon tournament.
“It is a pity that none of our referees was picked to officiate at this year’s tournament, but I feel our referees should have done much better than some of the match officials that are officiating at the Afcon tournament.
During the 2010 and last year’s tournament, only one Malawian assistant referee Moffat Champiti, who has since retired, officiated at the tournament.
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