Reports that Victor Gomes will officiate in Ghana’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations game against Gabon on Friday night appear to be incorrect.
The website Soccerway.com has Algerian referee Lahlou Benbraham down to take charge of the crucial Group C game at Stade Omnisport Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The website did not have Gomes down for any of the four Nations Cup games being played on Friday.
The unconfirmed reports that Gomes would officiate the Ghana-Gabon matchup, which appeared to emanate from some Ghanaian football news websites, had set Twitter alight.
Ghanaians met the news of a South African ref, and especially Gomes, officiating the game with dismay.
South Africans jested that Gomes should “do the right thing” and “not disappoint the nation”. This was in reference to the 2022 World Cup qualifier Bafana Bafana lost 1-0 against Ghana in Cape Coast in November, where the SA Football Association (Safa) took a complaint to Fifa over the controversial officiating of Senegalese referee Maguette N’Diaye.
There has been no love lost between Safa and the Ghanaian FA, too, who had a war of words over the match and subsequent protest, which was dismissed by the Fifa disciplinary committee.
The speculation that Gomes might referee Friday night’s game even had South African former international referee Ace Ncobo — the author of a report on N’Diaye’s officiating that Safa attached to their complaint — drawn into joking about the matter.
Ncobo tweeted: “Victor Gomes is doing the Ghana match. Do you have any message that you want me to pass on to him?”