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AFCON2021: Patrice Neveu Not Happy About refereeing

Elvis Kang


Burkina Faso sallied through to the quarter-final of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations after a dramatic defeat to ten-man Gabon on a post-match penalty 7-6 after 90 munites of dramatic 1-1 draw  

Coach Patrice Neveu Gabon did not hold back on the poor officiating of the game by the Moroccan referee during a post-match press conference to raise the issue of arbitration.

On Journalist – We can’t imagine your disappointment after tonight’s scenario and yet your team fought well even in numerical inferiority. What do you remember from this completely crazy match?

I think if we had stayed at 11 on the field, it would be a completely different game, my players compensated a lot on the actions of play to maintain a team balance. I did everything to bring in new blood to disrupt the Burkinabe defense. But there were distributions of yellow cards. It lacks clarity, it lacks honesty. Then we must congratulate Burkina Faso for their qualification. We are going to return to Gabon with our heads held high because my players didn’t give up until the end despite all the difficulties we had and all the pitfalls we wanted to put in our way too. Until now I have been silent.

Yesterday you said you were preparing to play this match for 120 minutes. If Patrice Neveu has one regret at the end of this match, what would it be?

No in relation to the commitment of my players. I don’t think we could have entered this meeting better. We were a little surprised. Some of my players hadn’t fully recovered from the match against Morocco, after which we didn’t travel either. We did everything to maintain a certain level of play, at one point we broke down. Yes, Burkina Faso had a lot of chances but I think that if we had been able to play these actions thoroughly with much more lucidity, we could have finished the match before. Yes it’s regrettable to lose the match on the penalty spot but you shouldn’t accuse anyone, it’s a group that has arrived, it’s a group that is leaving.

Was the absence of Mario Lemina and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang detrimental to you?

They are two great players of the international level. One was the top scorer in Germany, England, and France. Inevitably, their absence deprives us of assets. Afterward, they came out of a complicated situation. He could only stay in their rooms and they were diagnosed with a myocardial problem. They returned to their clubs and they had nothing left. We didn’t do everything to make up for their absence, but it didn’t work.

Now after your elimination, have you ever talked to your players? What is your speech? Why did you insist on playing 3-5-2? What motivated you?

First of all, I would like to thank my players for their fighting spirit and their investment in the tournament. They gave everything, we weren’t rewarded in this match, but that’s the hard law of competition. Afterward, we found ourselves at 10 after the card so it is obvious that the Burkina team, to be able to take it, you have to pass on the sides and the best articulation would be a 3-5-2 and you must not go look for the complication insofar as the return is higher in 3-5-2 than in 4-2-3-1.

On The Referee officiating 

Burkina Faso did not particularly maneuver us. There was a distribution of cards, I don’t count anymore and above all an arbitration that I can’t explain. I’m not complaining, but it will have to stop”, he first launched to make things clear.

Further on, he explains that he would have liked to leave the competition differently: “It is regrettable to lose by the penalty at this type of moment, but we will return to Gabon with our heads held high.”

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