Nigeria escaped the recently concluded African Cup of Nations Group Stage despite a series of questionable refereeing decisions which had its players and coaches up in arms during the continental tournament.
Referee Ghead Grisha drew the ire of the Super Eagles after his decision to award Zambia a decisive penalty kick late allowing their opponents to escape with a 1-1 draw.
Grisha pointed to the spot after a questionable foul by Nigeria defender Ogenyi Onazi at the edge of his team’s penalty area.
Super Eagles goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama called the decision “the worst penalty award I have ever seen in my entire football career” while Onazi pleaded with the tournament’s referee’s to “stop killing African football” in an official statement from the team following the team’s second match of the tournament.
Nigeria also felt slighted after a late red card opened the door for a Burkina Faso equalizer in their first match of the tournament.
“I want people to be able to judge themselves, but we had terrible officiating in the first game where we had five yellow cards plus a red card and our opponent had one single yellow card,” Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi said.
Nigeria avoided elimination with a 2-0 win over Ethiopia in their final Group Stage match on Tuesday, January 29th but controversial calls in its two earlier games could have seen them on the sidelines.
The Super Eagles face Ivory Coast in quarter-final action on Sunday, February 3.