War­riors cry foul:

• Poor match of­fi­cial robs War­riors

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Pet­ros Kausiyo in SUN CITY, South Africa

ZIFA were cry­ing foul last night, ac­cus­ing Botswana ref­eree Joshua Bondo of de­lib­er­ately work­ing against the in­ter­ests of the War­riors af­ter a shock­ing ref­er­ee­ing per­for­mance by the match of­fi­cial over­shad­owed this 2017 COSAFA Cas­tle Cup show­down at the Royal Bafo­keng Sta­dium.

Bondo had a night­mar­ish per­for­mance, twice deny­ing the War­riors clearcut penal­ties that could have changed the com­plex­ion of the game, and sent Twit­ter buzzing as a num­ber of Zim­bab­weans, and other neu­trals, took to so­cial me­dia to vent their anger on the ref­eree for his ques­tion­able show.

Even the of­fi­cial press re­lease from the or­gan­is­ers of the tour­na­ment fo­cused on Bondo’s con­tro­ver­sial show.

“Con­tro­ver­sial ref­er­ee­ing calls over­shad­owed the top-of-the-ta­ble clash in group B at the COSAFA Cup as Zim­babwe and Mada­gas­car played out a goal­less draw on Wed­nes­day at the Royal Bafo­keng Sports Palace,’’ a re­lease from the or­gan­is­ers read.

“Zim­babwe had two le­git­i­mate-look­ing ap­peals in the fi­nal five min­utes waved away by ref­eree Joshua Bondo to leave both sides still tied at the top of the stand­ings with four points each.’’

ZIFA vice-pres­i­dent Omega Sibanda said they would protest against the way Bondo han­dled the match.

“That was just un­ac­cept­able and as an As­so­ci­a­tion we will protest against such ques­tion­able ways of de­cid­ing matches be­cause the ref­eree should of­fer both chances a fair op­por­tu­nity to try and win the game and this ref­eree ap­peared to have an agenda against us,’’ said Sibanda. War­riors as­sis­tant coach Bon­gani Mafu blamed com­pla­cency by his play­ers and con­tro­ver­sial of­fi­ci­at­ing from Bondo as Zim­babwe were left to fight an­other day for a place in the COSAFA Cas­tle Cup quar­ter-fi­nals.

Mafu, who stood in for his boss Sun­day Chidzambwa in the post-match in­ter­view, felt the ref­eree had in the end played a big part in spoil­ing the game.

“I think it was a gru­elling match which the two teams had a go at one an­other and had crunch tack­les fly­ing that needed the ref­eree’s con­trol,’’ said Mafu.

“We got be­hind their lines and we had op­por­tu­ni­ties that didn’t come our way which we thought should have been given.’’

Bondo, one of the top ref­er­ees from South­ern Africa at the mo­ment who was also on the panel of match of­fi­cials at the African Cup of Na­tions fi­nals in Gabon, just seemed to be get­ting his calls wrong when it mat­tered most.

The Zim­babwe bench went up in arms with Bondo in the 83rd minute when sub­sti­tute Raphael Manu­vire was clipped in the box, but the ref­eree ig­nored the calls.

Three min­utes later, Bondo once again drew the ire of Chidzambwa and his men and had the few spec­ta­tors in the sta­dium whistling at him af­ter he waved away the sec­ond penalty ap­peal.

Ovidy Karuru got to the end of a through ball, came face-to-face with the goal­keeper and as the Zim­babwe cap­tain weaved past Jean Ran­dri­ana­solo, the Mada­gas­car goal­keeper lunged at him, send­ing the AmaZulu man tum­bling.

The whole sta­dium looked at Bondo for a de­ci­sion, but he turned it away.

Mafu reck­oned that “on any other day that de­ci­sion should have gone our way’’.

“From where we sat the player (Karuru) was on his feet and had the ball and the goal­keeper took him off and on any other day it should have gone our way,’’ Mafu said. Mada­gas­car were also not amused by the ref­eree two min­utes into time added on when they broke clear just in­side the War­riors half and had ex­pected the match of­fi­cial to play the ad­van­tage de­spite Ger­ald Tak­wara hav­ing brought down To­bisoa San­dra­trini­aina along the way.

The ref­eree in­stead halted play and flashed yel­low in the face of the FC Plat­inum mid­fielder.

But that could not be com­pared with the way he came short, when it mat­tered most, in the In­dian Ocean is­landers penalty area.

‘’We are not happy with the draw in a game we came out to win but we live to fight an­other day (against Sey­chelles),’’ said Mafu.

“I think our track­ing to­day was also not so good and we didn’t keep our shape and play ac­cord­ing to plan. In­stead we played how the op­po­nents were do­ing.

“I think if you win the first game by four goals it be­comes a bit dif­fi­cult to pick the same level of de­sire from the play­ers.

“It took us time to get into the game and when we did it we put more pres­sure on them.

“But in the end the play­ers’ de­sire to get a win saw us hur­ry­ing our ef­forts a bit hence we in­tro­duced Manu­vire,’’ Mafu said.

The War­riors got their first crack at goal when Karuru sent Bless­ing Ma­jarira through and the Herentals man, who got the nod ahead of Knox Mu­tizwa but strug­gled on the night, shot into the side net­ting from an an­gle.

Mada­gas­car coach Au­guste Raux whose side had some good build-ups but lacked the killer punch, came out happy with the draw.

“I ex­pected it to be a re­ally tough game and we pre­pared hard for it. I con­grat­u­late my play­ers for fight­ing hard even though there were few op­por­tu­ni­ties for us,’’ Raux said.

Teams:

Zim­babwe: Ge­orge Chigova, Ocean Mushure, Jame­son Mukombwe (Bruce Homora 46th minute), Eric Chipeta, Jimmy Tigere, Ger­ald Tak­wara, Lib­erty Chako­roma, Tal­ent Chawapiwa (Raphael Manu­vire 79th min), Ovidy Karuru, Bless­ing Ma­jarira (Knox Mu­tizwa 47th min), Leeroy Mavunga

Mada­gas­car: Jean Ran­dri­ana­solo, Alain Rafe­lam­bo­lasa, Tan­tely Ran­dri­a­ni­aina, An­do­niaina An­dri­anaval­ona, Ando Ma­noe­lantsoa, Sari­vahy Vom­bola (Fanomezana Claudel 65th min), An­dri­ami­rado An­dri­a­na­ri­manana, Rin­jala Ra­heri­naivo (Rako­to­harisoa Bag­gio 87th min), Jean Claude Marobe, Joatombo Bourahim (Ranaivo­son Ndran­to­har­i­lala 75th min), To­bisoa San­dra­trini­ana

WHAT A SHOCKER . . . Ref­eree Joshua Bondo, who was at the cen­tre of con­tro­versy in March this year for al­legedly head-butting a player, hogged the spot­light again for all the wrong rea­sons yes­ter­day af­ter some­how deny­ing the War­riors two clear-cut penal­ties at the COSAFA Cas­tle Cup

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