‘Blame Tunisian referee, leave John Boye alone’

A divisional chief of Nungua, Nii Otu Kwei II, has expressed displeasure at the barrage of criticisms being splashed on Ghana central defender John Boye after the Black Stars’ opening 2-2 draw game against Benin at the Nations Cup on Tuesday.

Boye was red-carded in the 54th minute by Tunisian referee Youssef Essrayri for apparent time-wasting – the erratic defender having earlier been shown the yellow in the 37th minute for a reckless challenge.

With a numerical advantage, the Benin Squirrels scampered for the equaliser and deservedly drew parity through two-goal hero Michael Pote, after 63 minutes.

Irate Ghanaian fans have since blamed Boye for letting the nation down, believing that the Stars would have beaten Benin on equal strength.

However, the Nungua divisional chief, who is also the Nii Abekunane Mantse, disagrees.

“I’m surprised everybody is blaming Boye and it’s highly unfair. Why not the Tunisian referee who, throughout the exchanges, had been very harsh on Ghana.

“Just take a good look at the game again and see the number of times Jordan Ayew was fouled without even a verbal caution from the referee,” he queried, charging the Ghanaian football authorities to lodge a protest with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) about the centre-man’s performance.

“Let’s not take anything for granted at this stage if we really want to win this tournament as some of these referees know what they’re doing,” he stressed, contending further that the referee could have warned Boye for the offence, “instead of the harsh second yellow which took him out.”

Nevertheless, Nii Abekunane has cautioned John Boye to be tactful on the pitch and avoid unnecessary antics in the game.

By virtue of the draw, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon lead Group F on three points after upstaging Guinea-Bissau 2-0 in the opening game.

Ghana will face off with Cameroon on Saturday, hoping to grab a win to unseat the defending champions. It is a very creepy assignment, but the divisional chief thinks it is not insurmountable.

“Doubtless, it appears a Himalayan hurdle – but I think with determination and focus, we should be able to handle Cameroon and eke out the desired result,” he asserted.

Nii Abekunane is a long-time disciple of Hearts who, in private life as Emmanuel Otu Quaye in October 2006, went to court to seek an explanation over some provisions in the Ghana Football Association’s new laws on player registration.

Subsequently, the premier league was suspended for several weeks before an out-of-court settlement was reached.


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