Referee suspended

Updated 08 February 2013
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Referee suspended

JOHANNESBURG: Tunisian referee Slim Jdidi has been suspended for his controversial handling of the Africa Cup of Nations semifinal between Ghana and Burkina Faso, the organizers said yesterday.
“We would have expected a better standard,” Confederation of African Football (CAF) secretary-general Hicham El Amrani told a media conference just hours after Burkina Faso lodged an official appeal against key player Jonathan Pitroipa’s red card in the semifinal win over Ghana on Wednesday.
“There is a meeting tomorrow to discuss the Pitroipa incident,” El Amrani said.
The official said Pitroipa’s chances of playing in the final depend on the match report sent in by Jdidi.
“The organizing committee does not have the power to change the referee’s decision unless the referee admits he made a mistake in his official report,” said El Amrani.
As it stands, Pitroipa will miss Sunday’s Cup of Nations final against Nigeria in Soweto after picking up two yellow cards in the stunning penalty shoot-out success over the Black Stars.
Pitroipa, who has scored twice in the tournament, was sent off three minutes from the end of extra time on Wednesday for diving when, in fact, he had clearly been knocked to the ground after tangling with an opponent.
Team manager Gualbert Kabore, speaking at the team hotel in north-eastern city Nelspruit, said: “The Burkina Faso Football Federation wrote an offical letter of appeal to CAF (competition organizers).
“We lodged it in the two hours after the match as stipulated by the regulations.
“We think we have a good chance of winning the appeal.” Kabore, a distant relation to another key Burkinabe player, midfielder and vice-captain Charles Kabore, echoed coach Paul Put’s dim view of Jdidi’s decision-making during the match.
Chief among the Tunisian’s perceived errors in the Burkina Faso camp were the rejection of a legitimate penalty claim, a disallowed goal that appeared to be valid, and Pitroipa’s sending off.
“There were some scandalous decisions, we don’t know why, we’re asking lots of questions, there are lots of theories,” said Kabore.
“Curiously, the players reacted better than us (the team management). They said if the referee is against us that must mean we are the stronger side.” Burkina Faso are hoping to hear later Thursday whether their appeal has been successful.
The Stallions are already having to do without the services of top scorer Alain Traore.
He was leading the scoring charts in South Africa with three goals only for his Nations Cup to end prematurely when he sustained an injury against Zambia in the final first-round game.

 


What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?

Updated 19 April 2018
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What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?

  • Al-Hilal won their 15th top-flight title this season.
  • Big summer for Saudi Arabia football with the Green Falcons at the World Cup.

Now the Saudi Professional League season is over for another year Arab News can look back at their title tilts and what the big four clubs have to do over the coming months ahead of the next season.

 



AL-HILAL

Finished: Champions

Coaching situation: Ramon Diaz was in charge for much of the season, but was fired in February after setbacks in the Champions League.
Assistant Juan Brown did Okay in the final stretch, but a top-class coach could get more out of this team.

Squad priorities: A reliable goalscorer to support Omar Khribin and with veteran defender Osama Hawsawi leaving for pastures new, a replacement center-back with leadership qualities. Welcoming back the major stars — Carlos Eduardo, Khribin, Nawaf Al-Abed and Salem Al -Dawsari — will be a major boost.

Aim next season: Win the AFC Champions League

 



AL-AHLI

Finished: Second

Coaching situation: Sergiy Rebrov is out of contract at the end of June. His future is likely to depend on how the team fares against Al-Sadd in the second round of the AFC Champions League in May.

Squad priorities: There is not much wrong. The Jeddah giants were the highest scorers in the league last season and had the second best defense. Keeping star midfielder Leonardo fit will help as will a little cover in the center of defense. Star striker Omar Al-Somah fell out with the coach in a public way in the penultimate game of the season. It may be that one of them has to go. The Syrian has been player of the year for three years and has a longer contract than Rebrov.

Aim next season: Win the league. Maintain good performances in Asia.


 
AL-NASSR

Finished: Third

Coaching situation: Krunoslav Jurcic arrived in January and the former Croatian national team boss produced an upswing in results. May just be a temporary appointment and it needs to be sorted quickly.

Squad priorities: Looks good with the Saudi Arabia national team keeper, a strong center-back pairing of Omar Hawsawi and Bruno Uvini and the full-back position seemingly sorted with the January signing of Saad Suhail. They probably need a defensive midfielder and have to keep Junior Kabananga. The DR Congo striker has shown enough in his few weeks at the club to suggest that he could be a real star next season, especially with Leonardo pulling the strings behind him.

Aim next season: A genuine title challenge and getting through the play-offs into  the 2019 AFC Champions League.

 


AL-ITTIHAD

Finished: Ninth

Coaching situation: A bottom half finish is unacceptable for a team with Al-Itithad’s stature and history. Chilean coach Jose Luis Sierra may find that winning domestic cups is no substitute for challenging for the title.

Squad priorities: There is too much reliance on players such as Carlos Villanueva, a creative spark in the team, and Fahad Al-Ansari, the midfield engine, who are the wrong side of 30. The possible return of star winger Fahad Al-Muwallad will help, but an introduction of energy is needed.

Aim next season: Top three and, if the team wins the King’s Cup, a good showing in the 2019 AFC Champions League.