Referee Micheck Juba who officiated the Airtel Top 8 final between Nyasa Big Bullets and Blue Eagles which was marred by violence, has come out of his shell to defend his decision to award Eagles a late penalty.
Juba was physically confronted by Bullets fans and players after the match for awarding Eagles a penalty in time added to give Eagles the lone goal of the match.
Speaking in an interview from his base in Mzimba on Tuesday, the Grade One-ranked referee said he made the right decision to award the penalty in accordance with the Laws of the Game.
“I might have been physically assaulted, but in as far as I am concerned, the decision was right and I do not regret whatsoever. It was a clear penalty. The Bullets defender [Yamikani Fodya] made a serious tackle on the Eagles’ striker [Gilbert Chirwa],” said Juba.
On the timing of the penalty, the referee, who is a teacher at Hilltop Foundation Primary School in Mzimba, said: “I know the laws of the game and a penalty can be awarded at anytime, even with a second remaining.”
Asked how he is feeling after taking a barrage of punches, the former Green Buffaloes forward said: “I am OK. It was not that bad and I even travelled back to Mzimba the same day. But on arrival, I went to the hospital for check-up and treatment.”
Juba said he is ready to officiate matches involving Bullets in future should he be assigned.
“That was not my first final match. I once officiated Be Forward Wanderers game against Kamuzu Barracks in the Fisd Challenge Cup final. So, with the experience I have, I am more than ready to take up any assignment,” he said.
Meanwhile, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) is expected to give out its verdict on the violence that erupted during the Airtel Top 8 final tomorrow.
FAM acting competitions manager Casper Jangale yesterday said the verdict would be ready tomorrow afternoon..
Bullets were charged on six counts, including manhandling the referee.