Referees are targeting Nigeria, insists Onazi

The midfielder was adjudged to have fouled a Zambian forward which resulted in a penalty against the Super Eagles and the 20-year-old feels his side are being victimised

By Lolade Adewuyi, In Nelspruit

Lazio’s Ogenyi Onazi has slammed the standard of officiating at the Africa Cup of Nations and is adamant Nigeria are being targeted by referees.

The Super Eagles conceded a late penalty to draw against defending champions Zambia on Friday, with Onazi adjudged by Egyptian official Grisha Ghead to have fouled Zambia's Emmanuel Mayuka on the edge of the box, which replays showed to be a controversial decision.

And the youngster remains convinced it was not a spot kick.

“It wasn’t a penalty because this is not how a penalty is given,” Onazi told “We were both struggling for the ball and it wasn’t even inside the 18-yard box but the referee just gave out the penalty. It’s unfair.”

The 20 year-old also confirmed what many in the Nigeria camp have been feeling, that the Super Eagles have been picked upon by the officials.

He added: “Of course, this issue has to be taken to the table. It’s unfair that the referees are behaving this way towards us."

Nigeria will play against Ethiopia in their last group game on Tuesday.