Malawian national football team coach Mario Marinica has caused a stir at the Hollywoodbets Cosafa Cup after he described African referees incompetent.
His outbursts followed Zambia referee Moonje Hamalila’s 92nd minute controversial penalty in Malawi’s 1-1 draw against e-Swatini.
The referee awarded the penalty after captain John CJ Banda was adjudged to have fouled an e-Swatini player.
Furious Marinica initially snubbed the post-match presser.
But after cooling down he granted the media an interview and apologised for his absence.
However, he had no kind words for the referees at the tournament.
He said: “I would like to apologise to you guys for not coming earlier.
“But I would not say the same about the cheaters. You know cheating doesn’t pay.”
The coach alleged that the referees were deliberately making decision against Malawi.
He said: “The same happened in the previous match. The referees seemed to have their own agenda. The referee was extremely weak.”
Marinica went further to say the African referees’ incompetence affects their participation at Fifa World Cup.
He said: “There is a reason you may not have African referees at World Cup. There is a reason because you know, cheating doesn’t pay.”
Marinica called for Cosafa to take action against both the referee and the player.
“If we look at the replay, you can see it’s not a penalty. It’s cheating.”
Marinica said he was forced to substitute Frank Gabadinho Mhango because he was targeted by the referees.
He said: “You could hear the fourth official urging the referee ‘take him off!’ So I had to substitute him because he already had a yellow card.”
However, soccer analyst Charles Nyirenda said the Flames had themselves to blame for failing to manage the game.
He said: “You blame officiation if you want. But the thing is we need to manage the game in these circumstances.
“I thought we were done with conceding late goals, but it seems this cancer is back.”
Nyirenda said Malawi needed to score more goals to be safe.
“You can’t sit on a lone goal and feel safe. If we had two or more goals, that penalty, genuine or not, would not have had any effect on us,” he said.
The Flames wrap up the group stages in a dead rubber against Mauritius this evening at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Marinica said he would give all players an opportunity to play as he looks forward to Africa Nations Championship qualifiers