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Mighty Warriors denied win in Cairo

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Egypt…………… (0) 2
Zimbabwe……..(1) 2

Poor officiating marred the first match of the Arab women football tournament between hosts Egypt and Zimbabwe at the Boktopr 3 Stadium in Cairo Monday afternoon.

A local referee Neama Allah stole the limelight with some inconsistent, poor and at times comical refereeing.

Allah gave defender Lynette Mutokuto a straight red card in the 62nd minute for an alleged foul on Egyptian striker Nesma Ferry just after the centre circle. It was simply a terrible call from the referee as the two players went for a 50-50 challenge.

In any case, Ferry was not in a clear goal scoring opportunity that the foul could warrant a sent off.

As this was not enough, Allah then gave the hosts an inexplicable penalty right at the death, a goal that gifted an out-of- sorts Egyptian side an undeserving equaliser.

It remains a mystery how the referee pointed to the spot when the ball had clearly hit the back of a defender on the wall from a last minute free kick, which was also controversially awarded.

Fayza Header converted the farcical penalty kick to level matters, adding to a Ferry headed equaliser midway through the second half.

There were also comical moments in the match. The referee brazenly shook Egyptian players’ hands after they had found the equaliser, in a humorous show of unprofessionalism by the match official.

Allah also stunned the watching fans when she blew her halftime whistle with five minutes still to play, but then stretched the optional time from the initial three minutes that were raised by the fourth official to five, giving the Egyptians extra minutes to find the equaliser – which eventually came.

The Mighty Warriors, who are participating in this three team competition as special guests had found the opener through a screamer by the talented Talent Mandaza after 20 minutes.

Tunisia are the third team in this year’s Arab cup competition.

With Egypt having equalised thorough Ferry in the 78th minute, the visitors raced into the lead a minute later through a well struck shot by substitute Emmaculate Msipa, a goal that sent the supporters who included a group of Zimbabwean students studying at Cairo University and embassy officials into ecstasy.

What followed after that goal was a circus.
Zimbabwe team head of delegation Mavis Gumbo said after the match, “You saw it for yourself. That is why I always want to travel with you journalists so that you see for yourselves how we are sometimes robbed by match officials. This kind of refereeing is not good for women football.”

Egyptian coach Mohammed Fathi said: “We cannot complain about the match officials. The referee is good sometimes, but at times is bad. I don’t want to comment about today’s referee.”

Turning on the performance of the two teams, the former Highlanders gaffer said, “It was a very good match, we saw good football today. Zimbabwe has a very good team who play good football; it was not easy to draw with them. We are still building a new team so a draw for us is a good result.”

Zimbabwe were the more purposeful side throughout the match with the ever reliable Merjury Nyaumwe and Tsitsi Mairosi showing a real desire to win the match.

However, thanks to a combination of some atrocious refereeing and a sheer bad luck, the match ended in a pitiful draw.

Striker Rudo Neshamba and Mairosi both hit the bar as Zimbabwe dominated play with some basic and simple one touch football that mesmerised the hosts.

Zimbabwe will now meet Tunisia on Wednesday at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in a match the Rosemary Mugadza coached team should win at any cost.

They will then hope for Tunisia and Egypt to cancel each other in the last match of the tournament set for Friday.

That sequence of results would leave the Mighty Warriors top of the log with four points and be crowned Arab champions.

Zimbabwe line-up: O Chingao, D Bhobho, E Chibanda, L Mutokuto (redcard, 62mins), R Mutyavaviri, T Mandaza (E Msipa, 77mins), M Nyaumwe, S Makoto (E Jeke, 57mins), T Mairosi, R Neshamba (P Mujuru, 65mins), R Makore (V Bepete, 57mins).

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