The Chairman of the Fearsome Elmina Sharks Football Club based in Elmina in the Central Region, Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom says he is unhappy with the unfair treatments meted out to some football clubs, including his own, by match officials in the ongoing Ghana Premier League (GPL).
Dr. Nduom did not understand why it appears that match officials (referees &match commissioners) protect Kumasi Asante Kotoko and Accra Hearts of Oak against other teams. Dr. Nduom feels that Kumasi and Accra – based teams get preferential treatment from some GFA and match officials.
He indicated that the GPL was not only about Kotoko and Accra Hearts of Oak: “The Ghana Premier League is not only Kotoko and Accra Hearts of Oak, but the two teams also don’t constitute our league”, Dr. Nduom disclosed. He added that without the other teams, there would not be a national league.
Dr. Nduom’s concerns follow last Sunday’s Match Week 25 fixture between Hearts of Oak and Elmina Sharks at the Accra Sports Stadium, where Referee Maxwell Kofi Owusu, awarded a dubious penalty against the Elmina lads. The referee also gave a red card to one Sharks player which turned the tide of a 0-0 match to Hearts’ advantage.
One sour decision did not go well with even some Hearts of Oak supporters at the Stadium. The obviously bad penalty decision, incidentally, proved to be the turning point in the game when Isaac Oduro, the player deemed to have committed the foul that warranted the penalty, was given the marching-off order.
He was red-carded for questioning the referee’s harsh decision. That was in the 43rd minutes of the first half. So for the remaining minutes with time added on in the first half; and the entirety of the second half, Sharks played with 10 men.
Indeed, television playbacks clearly showed that the center man’s decision was an obviously very bad one. A video of the penalty incident which has been in circulation and sighted by Today showed the ball came off the player’s shoulder, contrary to what the referee ruled as a handball situation.
Commenting on the game in a telephone interview with Today, the renowned businessman, who could not hide his displeasure disclosed that, he had complained about the incident via text message to the President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Kurt Okraku.
According to Dr. Nduom, he had recently registered his displeasure to the GFA boss, about some bias officiating against Elmina Sharks.
He added that club owners in the country are facing difficult times in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, and wondered why in their struggle to keep their clubs going, match officials who mar the beauty of the game with their poor decisions, “cannot be punished by the GFA to serve as a deterrent”.
“Why can’t officials be punished for their wrongdoings? They are destroying the beautiful game which must stop”, the Elmina Sharks owner said.
Earlier, a Manager of Elmina Sharks, Kelvin Aboagye Yeboah who confirmed the wrong penalty decision by Referee Maxwell Kofi Owusu told Today that the immediate concern of the management of the team “ is to have the red card given to our player overturned ” before Sharks’ next match with Kumasi King Faisal at the Nduom Sports Stadium in Elmina on Sunday, May 23, 2021.
According to him, the apology by the referee rendered via Facebook, was not enough, and expected the GFA to, as a matter of urgency expedite action on the matter.
“This was absolutely not a good decision. I’m not proud of it. A lot of people have been hurt. I’m hurt too”, the referee was purported to have posted on social media.
That notwithstanding, Mr. Aboagye Yeboah disclosed that they had written to the GFA to do the needful, by overturning the suspension of their player before dealing with the substantive matter.
“ We need the player for our Sunday game, so the GFA must do the right thing by clearing our player of wrongdoing so that he can play this Sunday”, he said.
Whiles, he would not prescribe what type of punishment the GFA should give to him (Referee Maxwell Kofi Owusu) Aboagye Yeboah said, what is “good for the goose is equally good for the gander”.
This is because as he narrated, “We have precedents for punishment if a referee makes such an unpardonable mistake”, said.
For example, he cited referee, Gabriel O. Arhin who was at the center of a penalty controversy in the game between Ashanti Gold SC and Accra Hearts of Oak and was punished by the GFA.
“Referee Arhin and Assistant Referee Peter Dawson have been suspended for the rest of the season and the first eight matches of the first round of next season”, he said.
ACCORDING TO HIM, the GFA Match Review Panel announced this decision after reviewing the video footage of the Ghana Premier League Week 19 match played at the Len Clay Stadium in Obuasi.
He also cited an instance where his team was again unfairly treated by some match officials in their Week 23 game against Dreams FC at Dawu, where the referee, he alleged awarded the home team two dubious penalties when replays suggested the decisions were wrong.