Sofapaka cry foul
Sofapaka team players have expressed discontent over poor refereeing during the Tusker Challenge Cup tournament that ended at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam, on Sunday.
The team lost to eventual champions Young Africans by 2-1 goals in a match they had taken a commanding lead up to the last five minutes when the tide of the game changed.
The players said Tanzania soccer will never grow should their players be groomed to win matches while banking heavily on favours from the referees.
They said trouble lay ahead when the Tanzania teams would be subjected to feature in international tournaments where such favours are usually not within reach.
They strongly believe their match against Young Africans in the final played at the Uhuru Stadium on Sunday was ‘daylight robbery’.
Sofapaka goalkeeper who also happens to be one of the Uganda The Cranes dependable custodian Wilson Obungi, said match referee David Bate who is also a Ugandan is alleged to have favoured the host side.
Obungi said Boniface Ambani’s equaliser was clearly scored through an offside position only for Bate to overrule his linesman who persistently raised his flag
Obungi who confronted the referee in a brawl timely frozen by policemen at the end of the match, said even Yanga’s winning goal was scored through an infringement committed by Mrisho Ngasa.
Another Sofapaka player Thomas Wanyama whose leading goal stayed for 50 minutes before Ambani’s cancellation, said this is the reason why most of the Tanzanian teams are knocked out in early stages of the continental derby.
“The deadly syndrome has extends up to your national team as the same players are used to resultant flop, the Challenge Cup tourneys being the example”, said Wanyama.
A Tanzanian player who features for the Kenyan champions Salim Kinje said there is too much dependence on referees in Tanzanian football.
Kinje said their match against Simba was also poorly officiated as the referee was unable to produce warning cards to the home side players.
Kinje who previously featured for Mtibwa Sugar said it’s high time Tanzanians play football and do away from depending on favours.
Ambani and Ngasa scored two quick fire goals in the final five minutes to freeze the Kenyan side that was on its way to win the title.
Simba’s Zambian coach Patrick Phiri has also expressed his dissatisfaction over the same referee who also officiated the match against rivals Yanga last Thursday.