Rwanda’s top assistant referee Celestin Ntagungira is in the limelight in Angola but for the wrong reason after he warded Egypt a goal that never was against Cameroon in their quarterfinal clash Monday.
The Rwandan official and the South African centre referee Jerome Damon appeared to be the only ones in the stadium to have seen the ball cross the line but I am sure when and not if the pair saw video replays after the game, they must have held their heads in shame.
With the Pharaohs leading 2-1, team captain Ahmed Hassan on his 170th appearance, sent a curling free-kick from the left, which was pushed onto the underside of the crossbar by the goalkeeper Carlos Kameni and did not cross the line when it hit the ground, but was still allowed to stand despite protests in Abega’s face by the Cameroon players.
For us who were watching the game in TV had the chance to look at the instant replays which clearly showed the ball had not crossed the line.
Damon’s position when the free kick was taken could not allow him to determine whether indeed the ball crossed the line, and you can probably give him a benefit of doubt but for Abega, he has no excuse since was standing just close to the corner flag in a position where he was able to have the final say in such circumstances, unfortunately he agreed with Damon.
After Pharaohs became the latest team to profit from a goal being awarded despite the ball not crossing the line, arguments for goalline technology will reignited once again.
You cannot say the goal had much impact on the outcome of the game but psychologically, it affected the Cameroon players, who after that, had to score two times to force penalty kicks but at the end of the day, the best team not only in that particular game but in the whole tournament won, and they’re now two wins away from taking the African title for keeps.