Chiefs coach Hunt on Wydad’s poor theatrics: ‘I’ve always said even Barcelona would struggle in Africa’
Kaizer Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt was reluctant to comment on Wydad Casablanca’s poor amateur theatrics and gamesmanship both away and on Saturday evening when Amakhosi beat the Moroccan outfit 1-0 in the Caf Champions League at home.
Hunt‚ though‚ did say that “there was a lot of dishonesty” in the situation that led to Samir Nurkovic’s 89th-mimute second booking and dismissal at FNB Stadium against a Wydad who left some stars in Morocco having already qualified for the quarterfinals.
Nurkovic became the second Chiefs player red-carded by Egyptian referee Ibrahim Nour El Din‚ who also sent off goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi in the 40th for handling the ball outside his area‚ when a yellow card seemed the appropriate measure.
Nurkovic’s dismissal came when he received a second yellow card when the striker went up an aerial ball and centreback Amine Farhane fell to the ground screaming. Somewhat suspiciously‚ the first booking in the first half came from the same player also falling to the ground screaming.
“I don’t want to say how the red card came about‚ but it’s very disappointing‚” Hunt said on Nurkovic’s dismissal‚ after a brave victory that kept Chiefs in the frame for the quarters‚ though they will need a draw with goals or a win in their final Group C game against Horoya in Guinea on Saturday.
“But‚ you know‚ when you play in Caf you’ve got to be strong‚ and when you go away you’re going to get more of that.
“It was very disappointing how he got a red card because I think you’ve got to be honest in a game‚ and there was a lot of dishonesty there. And that’s disappointing.”
Farhane was not the only Wydad player to fall to the ground screaming‚ amongst other niggles and minor altercations throughout the match. Chiefs had also come back from their 4-0 drubbing to Wydad in neutral Burkina Faso in February with other stories of gamesmanship surrounding the match.
Pressed to comment further on Wydad’s gamesmanship in both matches‚ Hunt said: “Nah‚ I don’t want to go there.
“It’s crazy. It’s just part and parcel. I’ve always said even Barcelona would struggle in Africa‚ because it’s tough.”
Akpeyi’s transgression was adjudged a professional foul even though the ball up-field he caught was going to miss goal and go out for a corner.
“I think he lost his bearings. Sometimes as a keeper you come out and don’t know where you are‚” Hunt said.
“Was it going in the goals? No it wasn’t. Was it a shot at goal? No. It was just a ball forward.
“So‚ you know‚ I don’t know the actual rules – was it card‚ was it a yellow? People say it’s a red card‚ so you’ve got to accept it. So it’s a bit harsh that it happened.”
Chiefs have also had their share of refereeing decisions go against them‚ strangely though‚ also at home‚ in their first-ever Champions League group stage.
Nurkovic’s headed strike ruled offside in the 0-0 home draw against Horoya‚ given how the final round of matches now stacks up‚ was perhaps the most significant.
Source: ARENA Holdings.