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JUSTICE AT LONG LAST

Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
EXACTLY a year after the Warriors were dumped from the 2018 CHAN finals by a controversial refereeing call at the National Sports Stadium, some form of delayed justice was delivered in Polokwane last night through a superb decision by a Mauritian referee.

Zimbabwe were dumped out of the CHAN finals for the first time in the Warriors history when they lost a controversial penalty shoot-out to Namibia at the National Sports Stadium after the two legs of the final qualifier ended in a stalemate.

The Herald led the outcry after this newspaper correctly called that the penalty converted by Namibia’s Dynamo Fredricks should not have been allowed to stand as it was technically flawed and, according to the new regulations, was deemed to have been missed.

Swazi referee Thulani Sibandze committed that diabolical technical error when he allowed Fredricks effort to be deemed to have been a goal when the new rules and regulations had long outlawed such ways of converting penalty kicks and the effort should have been noted as missed.

The Confederation of African Football went on to suspend Sibandze and his assistant Petros Mbingo for the technical error but ZIFA’s calls for a replay of the game fell on deaf ears with the Brave Warriors of Namibia being allowed to proceed to the finals.

We even sent footage of that penalty to the International Football Associations Board, the sole authorities when it comes to the crafting of laws and regulations governing world football, who provided an analysis that supported our position that referee Sibandze and his assistant Mbingo should have disallowed that effort and noted it down as a missed penalty.

“As you know from our previous correspondence, The IFAB does not comment on the correctness or otherwise of referee decisions as that is not our role or responsibility,” IFAB technical director David Elleray exclusively told The Herald back then.

“However, we are always happy to provide guidance as to the interpretation and application of the Laws of the Game.

“In this respect in the Laws of the Game 2017 /18, Law 14 states that it is an offence if the kicker ‘feints to kick the ball once the kicker has completed the run-up (feinting during the run up is permitted) . . . This Law is applicable in Kicks From the Penalty Mark (KFPM) (Law 10).

“The guidance is that once the kicker has arrived at the ball the run-up is completed and if the kicker then feints to kick then this is an offence punishable by a caution (YC — Yellow Card) and an Indirect Free kick (for a penalty in normal time) and the kick being declared ‘missed’ in Kicks from the Penalty Mark.

“This is regardless of the outcome of the kick (until the changes for 2016 /17) if the penalty was ‘illegally’ scored then it was retaken, but the philosophy now is that the player knows he/she cannot feint at the end of the run so if he/she does so they forfeit the kick and get a YC (Yellow Card).” Critics of this newspaper, however, lampooned us for daring to suggest that the penalty shoot-out that afternoon had virtually been rendered inconclusive as a result of the match officials’ gaffe.

However, a year later, we are proud to say that we have been proved right and, for the Warriors, justice was in some way delivered late, but delivered all the same, last night in Polokwane during their COSAFA Cup semi-final showdown against Lesotho.

The match finished goalless with the Warriors having struggled to break down the resilient opponents who defended in numbers and played the game with a plan to frustrate their rivals and probably force the game into a shoot-out.

Without the creativity of injured skipper Ovidy Karuru, the Warriors lacked the spark in midfield while the link between the attack and the midfielders was non-existent for a long time.

A number of key players also struggled to impose themselves on the game in a performance that was short on quality for the Warriors. However, just like in their quarter-final game against Botswana, the game had to be decided by a penalty shoot-out and giant goalkeeper George Chigova proved the hero after he saved two of the spot-kicks.

The match ended in farcical fashion when Lesotho’s Jane Thabantso’s spot kick was correctly deemed by referee Ahmad Imtezhaz Heeralall to have violated the rules and regulations governing such spot kicks with the Mauritian referee having the presence of mind to show the player the yellow card.

With Lesotho down 1-3 in the shoot-out, and needing to score the fourth to retain any hope, Thabantso stopped in his run up, after reaching the spot where the ball was settled and feigned as if he was going to place the ball to the left of the goalkeeper.

He then rolled the ball to his right after Chigova had already dived.

His decision to stop after making his run, when he had reached the spot where the ball had been placed, and dummying his shot is no longer allowed in this game.

“In this respect in the Laws of the Game 2017 /18, Law 14 states that it is an offence if the kicker ‘feints to kick the ball once the kicker has completed the run-up (feinting during the run up is permitted) . . . This Law is applicable in Kicks From the Penalty Mark (KFPM) (Law 10).

“The guidance is that once the kicker has arrived at the ball the run-up is completed and if the kicker then feints to kick then this is an offence punishable by a caution (YC — Yellow Card) and an Indirect Free kick (for a penalty in normal time) and the kick being declared ‘missed’ in Kicks from the Penalty Mark.

“This is regardless of the outcome of the kick (until the changes for 2016 /17) if the penalty was ‘illegally’ scored then it was retaken, but the philosophy now is that the player knows he/she cannot feint at the end of the run so if he/she does so they forfeit the kick and get a YC (Yellow Card).”

Source :

The Herald

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