Azam Tigers’ Technical Director, Robin Alufandika, has hit at referee, Boniface Chapinga, for allegedly lacking boldness during Saturday’s TNM Super League game between the Kau Kau and Epac at MDC Stadium.
Alufandika reacted angrily after a controversial incident leading to Epac’s equaliser in the second round game that ended one-all.
Tigers led through Yamikani Chester’s strike in the 59th minute, but Epac equalised with nine minutes to full time through substitute Chiletso Zoya.
As Epac scored, an assistant referee had flagged for a foul on Tigers’ goalkeeper, William Thole.
Soon after blowing for a goal, Chapinga realised that his assistant referee had his flag up. This forced the referee to reverse the decision.
Epac players and officials protested vehemently and threatened to walkout.
Following pressure, the referee rescinded his decision and awarded Epac a goal. Tigers officials also took the officiating panel to task before agreeing to continue playing.
Alufandika said the referee cost them three points.
“The referee is to blame for this mess. All that long, the flag of his assistant was up but he did not spot it. He was supposed to be sharp and take charge of the game without pressure. He changed his decision because he was under pressure. Anyway, we agreed to continue playing in the spirit of fair-play and sportsmanship,” he said.
Epac Coach, Audrow Makonyola, said it was important to respect the referees’ decision because it is final.
“In the first place, the referee awarded us a goal but he changed the decision because of Tigers’ players. There is no way my players were going to accept that. We scored a clear goal but they wanted to force the referee to deny us what we deserved,” he said.
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