Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE Football Association have appealed against the African Nations Championship qualifier result which saw the Warriors being booted out 5-4 on penalties by Namibia.
In a letter sent to the to the Confederation of African Football by general-secretary Joseph Mamutse yesterday, Zifa said after a meticulous assessment of the contentious event in which a ghost goal was scored by Namibia’s Dynamo Fredricks, they want the goal nullified in terms of law 14 and read with law 10 of the laws of football.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association, after a thorough review of the controversial incident in which a ghost goal from the penalty spot (the third effort from Namibia’s Dynamo Fredricks), during the penalty shootout hereby advise the Confederation of African Football of its official appeal to have that effort declared null and void because of a technical error,’’ reads part of Zifa’s letter of appeal to Caf.
Zifa stated they have been given expert counsel that the referee from Swaziland Thulani Sibandze erred technically in not disallowing the goal which would have meant that the shoot-out ended 4-4 and led to sudden death penalties being taken by both teams.
It is Zifa’s contention that the error has a huge bearing on the outcome of Zimbabwe’s Chan campaign as they note that Namibia have fixtures to play against Comoros in the final round of qualifiers when the match between the Warriors the Brave Warriors ended.
Sibandze was last week suspended by Caf with immediate effect after he was adjudged to have erred during Africa Nations Championship second leg qualifier between Zimbabwe and Namibia when he allowed one of penalty kicks to stand. Sibandze’s suspension by Caf should strengthen Zifa’s appeal.
The storm during the match arose when Fredricks went to take Namibia’s third spot kick where he embarked on his run-up and then just before striking the ball completely stopped as he feigned his shot.
Zimbabwe goalkeeper Hebert Rusawo dived to his right and with advantage of knowing where the goalkeeper had chosen to move, Fredricks coolly slotted the ball into the left hand side.
Zifa communication manager Xolisani Gwesela last night confirmed that they had indeed launched the appeal.
“It’s true we have launched an appeal, we are hoping that the result would be overturned,’’ said Gwesela.
The 5-4 on penalties loss to Namibia meant that the Warriors will not be at the Chan tournament for the first time since it started in 2009.