Head-butting referee in charge of Nigeria matchThomas Kwenaite
African football nomads – Libya – will stage their 2019 African Nations Cup qualifying home fixture against Nigeria in the Tunisian city of Sfax on October 15, it has been confirmed by the Nigerian Football Federation.
Libya, a country torn by civil war has been unable to stage football matches at home following a ban imposed by FIFA in 2011 due to the political instability in the North African country and they actually played Seychelles in Cairo.
The Mediterranean Knights had actually indicated to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) that they would stage the match against Nigeria in Algeria, but have seemingly changed their tune and the match will now take place in Tunisia.
However, while the venue of the match has been confirmed and the Super Eagles players started trickling into camp after missing the opening day to report, there is growing concern about the man in the middle who will handle the tie.
Botswana’s Joshua Bondo, a man who seems to be followed by controversy in almost every game that he handles, has been selected to take charge of this highly charged fixture assisted by Oamogetse Godisamang and Meshack Medupi.
He sprung to global prominence while handling a match between South Africa against Angola during the COSAFA Cup. Angolan defender Natael Paulo committed a foul and was naturally cautioned by the man in black.
But what followed after the incidents became the talking point as Bondo, after entering the Angolan’s name into his black book, appeared to be walking past the player when he head-butted him in a bizarre incident that left viewers and spectators totally gobsmacked.
Bondo was also in charge of the 2019 AFCON qualifier between Madagascar and Senegal which ended in a 2-2 draw, but such was the criticism of his handling that Senegalese FA President Augustine Senghor wrote a letter to both CAF and FIFA objecting to his general handling of the game which he termed shockingly poor.
The highly respected Motswana in his native country has previously handled Nigeria’s match against Tunisia and controversially denied Zambia a stunning equalizing goal during a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying tie against Nigeria which the Super Eagles narrowly shaded 2-1.
And the Botswana referee’s career seemed to reach an all-time low when he was booted from the COSAFA tournament for poor performance following an incompetent handling of a match between Zimbabwe and Madagascar, where he disallowed a goal and denied Zimbabwe two legitimate penalty calls.