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.