Thu, Jan 31, 2013 - Page 20 News List

Five referees leave tournament after group stages

Reuters, RUSTENBURG, South Africa

Mali’s Koman Coulibaly, who took charge of the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations final, is one of five referees leaving this year’s tournament after the completion of the group stage yesterday.

The 42-year-old has officiated at seven Africa Cup of Nations, but is probably best known for disallowing what seemed a perfectly legitimate US goal against Slovenia at the World Cup finals in South Africa three years ago.

Although he has avoided major controversy at this tournament, his handling of host South Africa’s Group A match against Angola came in for widespread media criticism for a series of debatable calls.

Also leaving is Egyptian referee Ghead Grisha, who was accused by Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama of “making one of the worst decisions in the history of football” when he awarded a penalty to Zambia in last Friday’s Group C clash.

Madagascan official Hamada Namplandraza is another referee heading home after he appeared to lose all sense of time during Togo’s Group D match against Algeria on Saturday, after stopping the match in the 86th minute when a goalpost began to lean.

The match was held up for 13 minutes while the post was repaired, but when play resumed, instead of playing the last four minutes plus stoppage-time, he played 16 more minutes — adding how long it took to fix the goal to the actual playing time.

The situation could have led to deep embarrassment for the Confederation of African Football and the match needing to be replayed had a decisive goal been scored in the time added on by mistake.

In the event, Togo, already 1-0 ahead, scored a second goal soon after play had restarted.

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