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Calls for CAF to suspend Mali referee after Gor Mahia defeat

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Football Kenya Federation (FKF) on Wednesday registered a formal complaint with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) over the standard of referring in Gor Mahia FC’s Confederations Cup match against NA Hussein Dey last Sunday in Algeria.

In a letter signed by general secretary and CEO Robert Muthomi, the FKF slammed the performance of Malian referee Boubou Traore during Gor’s 0-1 defeat to Hussein Dey in a Pool D match as "falling way short of the standard that should be considered acceptable."

Besides brandishing five yellow cards to the Kenyan champions, Traore came under harsh criticism when he disallowed a seemingly legitimate second-half goal from defender Shafik Batambuze that, had it stood, would have seen the match end 1-1 with Gor still top of a group that also contains Egyptian giants Zamalek FC, and Angolan heavyweights Petro Atletico de Luanda.

However, as it was, Hussein Dey scaled to the top of the pool on seven points, one ahead of the aggrieved Kenyans, with Zamalek and Petro closing the standings on five and four points, to blow open the race to finish in the top two and thus qualify for the quarterfinals.

"We would like to single out the performance of the referee, Mr Boubou Traore.

"The specific criticism of his performance is during the 58th minute where he disallowed a goal scored by the visiting team," the FKF said in the letter dated March 4.

"From the video obtained from CAF, it is evident there was no contact or infringement from the attacking players on the goalkeeper, and neither was there an offside call, it being a corner kick.

"As such, we would like to seek clarification from CAF as to why the goal was disallowed," the FKF continued.

The Kenyan federation asked the continental football body to consider the reports of the CAF Referee Assessor and Match Commissioner, as well as reviewing the video of the incident to form a view about "the acceptability of Mr Traore’s performance, and of his suitability to referee future matches."

The incident in question sparked outrage in Kenya, with many past stars and football fans flooding social media to slam CAF for the dubious standards of officiating at continental tournaments, suggesting a bias towards teams from North Africa, and noting that it was not the first time that suspect officiating had caused anger in this season’s continental competitions.

CAF was forced to deal with the bitter fall-out from a hotly-contested North African derby between Ismaily of Egypt and home side Club Africain of Tunisia in the CAF Champions League, which turned chaotic and was abandoned in the 83rd minute with Ismaily leading 2-1, when fans threw objects on the pitch after a refereeing decision did not go the home team’s way.

On January 23, the governing body announced that Ismaily were disqualified from the competition for the aggressive behavior of their fans, which included consistently throwing rocks and water bottles at the assistant referee and the away fans.

However, on February 10, Ismaily were reinstated on appeal, with the Tunisians awarded a 3-0 victory that saw the Egyptian outfit sink to the bottom of their pool.

Gor did not return to Kenya following their loss in Algiers, instead traveling to Egypt on Monday to base themselves in Alexandria before traveling to Cairo to face Zamalek on Sunday.

The record 17-time domestic title-holders stunned the five-time African champions 4-2 in the opening round of Pool D action in Nairobi on February 3.




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