18th November, 2013
Ethiopia coach Bishaw Sewnet has said Nigeria did not beat his team on Saturday but rather they lost to Gambian referee Bakary Papa Gassama.
Ethiopia lost 2-0 to Nigeria in a 2014 World Cup play-off return leg in Calabar to crash out of the competition on a 4-1 aggregate.
But Sewnet blamed it on Gambian referee Gassama, who last week handled the CAF Champions League final between Al Ahly of Egypt and South Africa’s Orlando Pirates in Cairo.
“The referee won the game for Nigeria,” lashed out a very bitter Sewnet.
“He denied us two penalties and gave them a soft penalty. Even for their second goal, we were still arranging our wall when one of their players shot into the net. These were not fair decisions by the referee.”
The former Biology teacher also said his players’ inexperience and lack of exposure could not match that of Nigeria’s Europe-based professionals.
“My players are young and most of them play locally, but Nigeria have professionals who play in Europe and so they are ahead of us,” he said.