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15.08.2004 Football News

Rangers coach blames Malian referee

By Raymond

AWKA, Anam. - ENUGU Rangers FC manager Lawrence Akpokona, has described as unfair the manner the Nigeria Football Association rescheduled their outstanding local games, saying it leaves them with the arduous task of playing four matches in seven days, The reschedule programme of Rangers who came back from Kumasi, Ghana with a 3-1 loss against Ashanti Kotoko in a CAF Confederation Cup shows they play Niger Tornadoes (in Coca Cola FA Cup which they already won 1-0 ) and then Gombe United this Sunday in a Premiership match. They face Adamawa United, Tuesday in another FA Cup game and then Plateau United on Thursday before moving to Abeokuta against Julius Berger next Saturday. "Oh no, NFA is most unfair. How can you schedule four matches for a team in less than seven days. I wonder how many clubs will be able to stand such heat.

Imagine the strain of traveling to Adamawa after our Sunday match against Gombe United and to Plateau and back south to Abeokuta in less than seven days with thousands of kilometers in between," Akpokona said" We are not complaining, we will do our best to honour the matches but it is just unfair," he said.

Speaking on the team's outing against highly rated Kotoko, Akpokona blamed centre referee from Mali, adding that he destroyed the match not minding the hostility showered them by the Ghanaian officials.

"The Ghanaian side are good no doubt but the centre referee made a mess of the whole game. They scored a beautiful goal in the first half because my boys went to sleep in the early minutes. But in the second half the referee saw my boys as a threat and reduced our strength with one unnecessary red card. As if that was not enough he allowed a hand goal. I mean it was most frustrating," he lamented,But Akpokona was full of praises to the Ghanaian media "for their objectivity in the both the pre-match and post match reports. They did a good job."

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