Reasons have been given by referee Eric Otigo- Castane of Gabon on why he awarded a controversial penalty against Nigeria during its last Group B game against Algeria in Constantine.
The Desert Foxes had forced Nigeria to a 1-1 draw courtesy of a late penalty awarded to the Fennecs when Shehu Abdullahi was wrongly adjudged to have fouled Algeria striker Yacine Brahimi in the penalty box, a decision that shook everyone including over 30 million tv viewers.
Several replays had shown that the Nigerian defender did not do have contact with the Algerian player to warrant a penalty against him.
But the Gabonese referee insisted that his decision was right.
“Expectedly we asked questions after the game and the referee explained to us that the decision was taken based on a newly introduced law into the game, which allows for intention to be punished”, the NFF board member told Owngoalnigeria.com.
“He interpreted Shehu’s intention to impede the man, who stayed on his feet instead of going down from the tackle. The fact that the Algerian attacker Brahaimi didn’t go down is what made the decision to look like the wrong call according to him.
“Let’s be frank, he did his best considering the atmosphere he was under and especially after turning down numerous attempt by the Algerians to con him into giving them a penalty.
“Maybe Brahaimi should have been sent off before the incident which led to the goal, but I guess he didn’t want to lose grip of the match, which a red card to the Algerian captain would have triggered. It’s called game management and we understand his explanation.”