Controversial Kenyan ref for Caps match
Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
KENYAN referee Davies Omweno, who will handle Caps United’s Total Caf Champions League encounter against Libyan side Al Ahli Tripoli at the National Sports Stadium tomorrow has a tainted past.
Omweno was handed a three-month suspension by Caf in November 2016 following a complaint by Libya, who had lost 0-1 to Tunisia in an African 2018 World Cup qualifier. Libyan coach Jalal Damja blamed their loss on poor officiating.
In that game, Libya had a 10th minute “goal” disallowed for offside, while Tunisia scored through a last minute penalty.
The Caf referees’ committee cited poor performance, wrong positioning and movement, incorrect identification of fouls and failure to administer some disciplinary sanctions as reasons for Omweno’s suspension.
With Makepekepe playing a Libyan side on the brink of an early elimination from the lucrative tournament, all eyes will be on the 33-year-old Kenyan’s handling of the encounter, especially with allegations of bribery being raised by Kenyan refereeing officials following the sanctions handed to Omweno.
Kenya referees’ chief GMT Ottieno was quoted by that country’s media saying it is always a difficult assignment for Kenyan referees in the “Arab world”, alleging there is wanton bribing of referees, with those failing to bulge facing acrimony, especially from home teams.
“If Omweno is guilty of the said offences, then he only has himself to blame. However, it is always good to understand that officiating in the Arab world is so tempting in terms of bribes and if one fails to accept them, life will never be the same,” Ottieno claimed.
Omweno will be assisted by countrymen Gilbert Cheruiyot and Joshua Achila.
A loss for the Libyan outfit, who play their home games in Tunisia, will spell doom for them in the campaign as they just have a single point, while Caps United have three points from two games, having lost their opening encounter 0-2 to Zamalek, who take on Algeria’s USM Alger.
In March, controversial Seychelles referee Bernard Camille was appointed to take charge of Makepekepe’s first round, second leg clash with five-time African Champions TP Mazembe at the National Sports Stadium.
The Seychelles official hogged the limelight for the wrong reasons in Lubumbashi, DRC three years ago after awarding TP Mazembe two controversial penalties in their Champions League clash against Orlando Pirates.