After handing the Algerians a penalty against Nigeria in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier on Friday, Gabonese referee Eric Otogo-Castane has explained his decision.
Although it was seen as a controversial penalty, Otogo-Castane says he was guided by the new laws of the game as defender Abdullahi Shehu was adjudged to have fouled Yacine Brahaimi in the box.
The Super Eagles claimed a point as they scored through John Ogu, but the replays suggest that Shehu didn’t do much to warrant a penalty being awarded.
”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 lead 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.“