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Controversy free AFCON assignment for Bondo

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Bondo set for VAR training, a hint that he could officiate at AFCON 2019

BONGANI MALUNGA

Botswana official Joshua Bondo has finally returned from an official assignment without any controversy to start reinventing himself as a top referee in the continent. Bondo was assigned to officiate the AFCON 2019 Group F qualifier between Ghana and Kenya at the Accra Sports Stadium, the game ended 1-0 in favour of Ghana as both teams qualified for the Egypt held tournament scheduled for June as the top two teams in the group.

Unlike many of his previous assignments in recent years, he got away from the match without any complaints from either team. In 2017, he was sent home after Zimbabwe complained about his officiating and he was dropped for the 2018 edition of the COSAFA Cup.

He was also heavily criticized by Zambia in their 2018 World Cup Qualifier against Nigeria, the media in Zambia criticized him and stopped short of blaming him for their failure to qualify for the World Cup by constantly referring to the game as a turning point in their shortcoming. Last year he was criticized by Senegal after their 2-2 draw against Madagascar and the Senegalese association hinted that they would protest any future assignment of Bondo in their matches. According to an article published by Goal.com last year, Federation of Senegalese Football (FSF) president Augustine Senghor said they would object to Bondo handling their future matches.

“We are planning to challenge this Botswana referee next time,” Senghor was quoted on the Goal.com article, referencing an interview he had with WiwSport. Despite the previous struggles, Bondo appears to have turned over a new leaf as his performances have not yielded any negative remarks.

Earlier this month, Botswana Football Association (BFA) Public Relations Officer Tumo Mpatane announced that Bondo will travel to Morocco to attend VAR training for the 2019 AFCON tournament which will be staged in Egypt. The training is a possible hint that Bondo is in the running to officiate at the main tournament as VAR will be used at the tournament.

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