Joshua Bondo has found himself at the centre of attraction once again, following his handling of the Zambia versus Nigeria World Cup qualifier on Saturday.
Bondo was a subject of abuse from the Zambians on social media platforms after his assistant referee ruled out Augustine Mulenga’s strike for offside in a match that guaranteed Nigeria’s place at the next year’s tournament.
Chipolopolo fans branded the Selebi-Phikwe born referee an ‘evil man’ while some went as far as calling him a ‘toilet paper’. Bondo is not new to controversy as in March, he was involved in a rather unusual pitch tussle when he officiated a friendly game between South Africa and Angola played in South Africa.
The referee appeared to head-butt Angolan player Paulo Natael. ‘Sprinter’ is seen charging towards the player, hit him on the jaw with his head before his stretched hand trails on the player’s head too.
Bondo, who was crowned the 2017 BNSC Referee of the Year on Saturday, was labelled by Zimbabwean media as ‘Referee from Hell’ as he was accused of failing to award ‘clear cut’ penalties in a COSAFA Cup tie between Zimbabwe and Seychelles played in June.
Zimbabwe Football Association launched a complaint and Bondo was expelled from the tournament. Bondo was attacked by Mochudi Centre Chiefs officials in 2014 after he showed the then captain Pontsho Moloi a straight
Meanwhile, FIFA and CAF will investigate the Zambian fans during the World Cup qualifier against Nigeria.
The two soccer governing bodies have launched an investigation into the behaviour of the Chipolopolo fans after photographs showed the Zambian supporters displaying a banner written, ‘H.E E.C LUNGU GOD BLESS YOU’ in the stands at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium. This was in support of Zambian president, Edgar Lungu who has become unpopular with a section of the Zambian population.
FIFA does not allow political messages during football matches, which means Zambia could face censure. The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president, Andrew Kamanga, has, meanwhile told media in his country, that the association will not appeal the disallowed goal due to inadequate facts to launch the case. He said FAZ finds itself in a difficult position as FIFA deemed a referee’s decision as final unless there is evidence suggesting the decision was influenced.