President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Issa Hayatou said on Friday that controversial refereeing performances at the ongoing African Cup of Nations in South Africa should not detract from an overall improvement in the standard of officiating.
Coaches and players have been angry about bizarre refereeing
performances at several key matches at the tournament in South Africa
but Hayatou believes that overall the standard has been good.
CAF took the unusual step on Thursday of announcing that Tunisian
referee Slim Jdedi had been suspended following his handling of the game
in which he awarded Ghana a soft penalty, denied Burkina Faso two far
more obvious penalties and ruled out what appeared to be a legitimate
Burkina Faso goal.
Jdedi's most contentious decision came three minutes from the end of
extra time when he showed Burkinabe winger Jonathan Pitroipa a second
yellow card and sent him off for diving in the penalty area which means,
pending appeal, that Pitroipa is ruled out of Sunday's final against
Television replays clearly showed that Pitroipa was fouled in the incident and that Jdedi had a clear view of the foul.
Other refereeing foibles included Ghana's goalkeeper receiving a yellow
card instead of red for a handball outside his area in what was a
blatant professional foul against Mali.
"Overall we are satisfied but we experienced some mistakes with the
referees especially at the semifinal between Ghana and Burkina Faso, and
there were other errors too...also at the Tunisia v Togo match," he
told a media round-table meeting on Friday
South African referee Daniel Bennett booked the wrong player, awarded
two soft penalties and denied another obvious spot kick when Togo met
Tunisia in Nelspruit.
Egyptian referee Gehad Grisha awarded a highly controversial penalty to
Zambia in the last minute of their group match against Nigeria and
subsequently was not given another game to officiate in the tournament.
After the match the Nigerian FA sent a strongly-worded protest to CAF,
and Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama described the call as "one of
the worst decisions in the history of football".