Selection of officials will ’pacify’ Kaizer Chiefs ahead of CAF Champions League final
Share this article:
CAPE TOWN - Well - travelled coaches like Gavin Hunt and Pitso Mosimane have over the years told endless stories about how South African teams suffer at the hands of rank poor officiating in continental competitions.
Mosimane, in particular, has often been riled by north African teams for bullying opponents, match officials and even ball boys.
These days, however, Mosimane sits on the opposite side of the dugout, guiding the fortunes of north African giants Al Ahly of Egypt, the most successful club in Caf Champions League history with nine titles.
Kaizer Chiefs, however, can make their way to Casablanca with a sense of calm as a Burundi referee with the first name of Pacifique will handle the one-leg Champions League final next Saturday.
They have twice experienced Pacifique Ndabihawenimana’s calm demeanour in Champions League matches this year.
Last month, he worked Chiefs’ second leg quarter-final against Simba, the eventual 3-0 winners in Dar-es-Salaam. Chiefs surprisingly won the first leg 4-0.
In the second leg, Simba threatened throughout the match to score five goals to reach the semi-finals. Instead, they managed three goals and were eliminated 4-3 aggregate.
However, although Amakhosi did their best to defend that lead, they also enjoyed the rub of the green when Ndabihawenimana turned down Simba’s appeal for a penalty after one of their players kicked the ball against Daniel Cardoso’s outstretched arm. It was very much a 50/50 call.
In this match, Ndabihawenimana issued five yellow cards, with three going to the Tanzanians.
Chiefs first came across Ndabihawenimana at the 11 de Novembro Stadium in Luanda in March, when they went up against host team Petro Luanda in a group stage match which ended in a 0-0 draw.
The Angolans incurred his wrath and were booked twice. Kearyn Baccus was Chiefs’ lone booking in the match.
Ndabihawenimana has not worked any of Al Ahly’s matches this season.
The rest of the match officials are drawn from central and east Africa.
Cameroon’s Elvis Guy is one of the assistant referees and he has worked two matches of each of the finalists this season. He’ll have pre-match input on Al Ahly for Ndabihawenimana.
The other assistant referee is Lee Okello of Uganda. Strangely, Caf have not opted for experience as he has never officiated a Champions League match before. But he worked three Confederation Cup matches as a referee this season.
The fourth official will be experienced Eric Otogo of Gabon. He has been a Fifa referee and a Caf Elite Referee since 2011. This season he refereed Champions League and Confederation Cup matches, but none involving Chiefs or Al Ahly.
The rest of the matchday panel is made up of the two Video Assistant Referee officials, both Moroccans. They are Redouane Jiyed (the lead) and Zakaria Brinsi (assistant), and both are seasoned referees.
Aboubakar Konate of Cameroon is the match commissioner, and his fellow countryman Evehe Raphael is the referee assessor.