Whistle blown on referees
WHILE SOUTHERN Zambian and South African referees have flown the Southern African region’s flag very high at the recently ended Africa Cup of Nations tournament, other members of the region have brought shame to the profession of the men in black.
Zambian Janny Sikazwe certainly brought honour to whistle men in general when he faultlessly handled the Afcon final between Cameroon and Egypt – expertly allowing the game to flow, while professionally applying the rules to the letter without fear or favour.
Botswana’s Julius Bondo was a fourth official for the Cameroon match against Ghana, while South African Daniel Bennett handled the tempestuous quarter-final between Burkina Faso and Tunisia in Libreville. But their Namibian colleague – Edwardt “Boy-Boy” Ndjadila – has brought a dark cloud over the men in black when CAF suspended him for eight years from all football activities this past week.
Ndjandila, who is Manager of Referees, is allegedly implicated in manipulating the results of an African Champions League match featuring Angolan side Kabuscorp and Sudanese side El Merreikh in Luanda during April two years ago.
His banning order was confirmed worldwide by Fifa following the release of CAF’s charge sheet from his hearing. It found him guilty of corruption and match-fixing related to the aforementioned game.
According to CAF spokesman Hicham Al Amrani, Ndjadila pocketed US$21 000 from the Angolan club to influence the result of the second leg encounter.
“We discovered in our investigations that Ndjadila was promised US$60 000, with half of that amount to be paid upfront and the balance at the end of the match if he ensured the host team won the game by a 3-0 margin.
“However, the Angolans only won 2-1 and El Merreikh, who had won the first leg match 2-0 in Khartoum, therefore, advanced to the next round 3-2 on aggregate.
“With the results not going their way, the Angolan team officials laid a fraud charge against Ndjadila and another Namibian match official Jackson Pavaza.”
Pavaza was the referee of the day and was assisted by Isaskar Boois and Christof Alfred Vries.
Yet, strangly , while the referees have been punished for accepting a bribe, the Kabuscorp, which offered them the bribe, escaped any sanctions and CAF needs to look into this particular matter closely to discourage the manipulation of results in the future.