Blundering Botswana referee Joshua Bondo has paid a huge price for his diabolical officiating in the COSAFA Castle Cup clash between Zimbabwe and Madagascar, with the match official being expelled from the regional tournament for poor performance.
Bondo received widespread condemnation for his shocking decision to turn down two appeals for penalties from the Warriors, late in the match, when on both occasions Zimbabwe should have been given two spot-kicks against Madagascar on Wednesday night.
COSAFA, who have a zero tolerance on bad officiating, yesterday wielded the axe on Bondo after reviewing the referee’s pathetic performance which marred the Group B top-of-the-table clash between the Warriors and Madagascar that eventually ended 0-0.
Bondo was duly criticised across the COSAFA region, and on the continent, for his poor show and the regional body’s referee’s committee that has been trying to use the tournament to develop match officials from Southern Africa stuck to their principle and decided to send him home.
He also received rave reviews along the way.
But on a cold Wednesday evening at Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace, Bondo hogged the limelight for the wrong reasons and shamed himself in the clash between the Warriors and Madagascar.
It was in the decisive moments of the game that Bondo was found wanting and drew the ire of the Warriors camp after twice denying them legitimate penalty calls in a five-minute spell of madness.
Bondo had the Warriors players and their bench up in arms after he first denied them a penalty after substitute forward Raphael Manuvire was hacked down in the box.
The 39-year-old official also robbed Zimbabwe of an opportunity to score from the penalty spot when he waved away appeals for a professional foul on skipper Ovidy Karuru by goalkeeper Jean Randrianasolo.
Although COSAFA were yet to issue an official statement on the fate of the referee, The Herald can reveal that, just like Zimbabwean official Ruzive Ruzive in 2015, Bondo has been shown the red card.
“COSAFA have always maintained zero tolerance on poor performance. Inasmuch as he is a top referee, it is also disappointing that he failed to live up to expectations and he is being seen home based on his performance,” sources close to the regional body said.
Harare referee Ruzive was also sent packing at the 2015 tournament in South Africa and, ironically, after handing Madagascar a lifeline with some controversial decisions in their match against Swaziland.
That Group B decider ensured it was Madagascar who advanced after they had scored one goal more than Swaziland as the match ended in a 1-1.
Should Madagascar advance into the quarter-finals today at the expense of the Warriors, Sunday Chidzambwa and his men, just like Swaziland in 2015, could point to the referee as having decided their fate.