“Esperance, champion of shame?” This title was the headline of a short report from Congolese team TP Mazembe, whose manager strongly condemned the referee’s decision during WAC-EST final leg.
Rabat – Congolese soccer team TP Mazembe shared a short report responding to the second leg of the African Champions League final, in which Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca was subject to poor referee performance.
The Congolese team titled its report “Esperance, champion of shame?” suggesting that the Tunisian soccer club did not deserve the win after the VAR scandal.
On Friday, referees rejected an equalizer from Wydad Casablanca, arguing that is was an offside. This decision shocked Moroccan players, their fans, and non-fans alike.
When WAC players put pressure on the referee team, asking for the Video Assistant Referee system to be used to determine whether their goal was legitimate, the referees said that VAR was unavailable due to technical issues, stirring controversy.
WAC decided to abandon the game after the referee’s decision, a situation which prompted the Moroccan delegation from the Moroccan Royal Football Federation (FRMF) and President of African Football Confederation (CAF) Ahmad Ahmad to intervene.
WAC players were convinced that in light of the injustice, there was no point in resuming the game, and therefore abandoned the game nearly 15 minutes after the start of the second half.
After WAC decision, CAF awarded the Champions League trophy to Esperance Tunis, who were able to score a goal in the first half.
WAC was able to tie the game during the first leg after being deprived of a penalty and a legitimate goal, which would have changed the course of the game if there was no VAR controversies.
Commenting on Esperance Tunis’s win, TP Mazembe described the Tunisian football club as “undistinguished champions.”
“Without glory, the trophy was finally given to the players of Esperance.”
The Congolese club also criticized CAF, emphasizing that CAF missed “its season in the champions league in terms of image and credibility.”
The statement of TP Mazembe was also echoed by its manager Frederic Kitenege who decried the referee’s performance and heavily criticized CAF President Ahmad Ahmad.
In a tweet, the TP Mazembe manager said that the game was suspended for more than 20 minutes and no decision was made. The refusal of WAC’s goal “should have been verified by the VAR instead of the CAF President showing up on the pitch to discuss with the Moroccan coach.”
In his last tweet, the manager said: “Very courageously, the President of the CAF on the podium with his members to hand out medals and Cup at EST without the WAC or referees.”