Ogenyi Onazi: Referees are picking on us

The Nigeria right back was adjudged to have fouled a Zambian forward which resulted in a penalty against the Super Eagles in Friday’s game


Lazio’s Ogenyi Onazi has cried out against the officiating at the Africa Cup of Nations as Nigeria conceded a late penalty to draw against defending champions Zambia on Friday.

The midfielder, who was converted to a right back for that encounter, was adjudged by Egyptian referee Grisha Ghead to have fouled Zambia’s Emmanuel Mayuka just on the edge of the box. Television replays showed that it was a contestable call.

“It wasn’t a penalty because this is not how a penalty is given,” Onazi told Goal.com. “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. They had a tough time with the referee in their first game against Burkina Faso last Monday as well.

“Of course, this issue has to be taken to the table. It’s unfair that the referees are behaving this way towards us,” Onazi concluded.

Nigeria will play against Ethiopia in their last group game on Tuesday as they seek a quarter final ticket.