The Super Falcons of Nigeria failed in their bid to qualify for the 2022 Women’s African Cup of Nations final, currently taking place in Morocco after losing to the host country by a Penalty shoot-out.
Apart from the penalty shoot-out defeat and the red card incidents, one event that occurred throughout the match was the use of laser beams to distract the Nigerian players.
All through the duration of the game, the fans of the host country who filled the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat exhibited unsportsmanlike behavior.
They targeted their laser pointers and beams on the Super Falcon players particularly the goalkeeper in a bid to secure an undeserved advantage over the Nigerian team.
You May Also Read: Kano Pillars Relegated From The NPFL
This kind of behavior is fast becoming the norm in African football and the Confederation of African Footb all (CAF) must step in to nip it in the bud.
It will be recalled that such unsportsmanlike behavior occurred just a few months ago in the World Cup play-off game between Egypt and Senegal in Dakar.
Egypt lost in their playoff game against Senegal for a spot at the World Cup. A major talking point of the game was the use of laser beams by Senegalese fans to blind the Egyptian players all through the game including the shootout.
Egypt missed 3 out of their 4 penalties under immense pressure and distraction by the opposition fans. The first of those misses was by Mohammed Salah as his face was green with laser beams when he skied the ball over the goal post.
In 2013, there was controversy in the aftermath of Al Ahly’s aggregate 3-1 win over Orlando Pirates in the CAF Champions League second leg final in Cairo.
Laser pointers were heavily used by Egyptian fans to torment Orlando Pirates players, all through the duration of the game. Goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa was one of the players regularly targeted by the home fans.
According to FIFA Stadium Safety and Security Regulations, items such as laser pointers, which “could distract the players and/or officials”, are prohibited. If spectators are still found using them, the teams are liable for punishment and may be subject to disciplinary measures, according to article 16 of FIFA’s disciplinary code.
It is high time, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) put a stop to these ugly and unfair tactics in African football. CAF must lay down strict sanctions for teams or countries whose fans engage in such behavior. CAF must act now!