Several Nigerians took to social media to express their honest opinions on the controversial indirect free kick that was awarded by Djiboutian referee Souleiman Ahmed Djama in Sunday’s 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Group C encounter against Zimbabwe.
Djama awarded a controversial indirect free kick to Nigeria in the 54th minute under unclear circumstances.
By definition, an indirect free kick is given if a goalkeeper commits a specific offense in his or her own penalty area. These offenses include:
-Touching the ball again with his or her hands after he or she has released it from possession and before it has touched another player.
-Touching the ball with his or her hands after it has been deliberately kicked to him or her by a teammate.
-Touching the ball with his or her hands after he or she has received it directly from a throw-in by a teammate.
When Super Eagles centre-back Calvin Bassey released a long searching ball, there were no takers and Warriors goalkeeper Donovan Bernard intercepted it with his lower torso before picking it up inside his box.
As per football laws, there was nothing wrong done by Bernard, but the referee was quick to blow for an indirect kick.
Djama’s call left everyone confused and several Nigerians on social media agreed the referee made a mistake.
Here are some of the reactions on the referee to award the indirect free kick.
Awful refereeing in this game. Should’ve been a red card for Jamilu Collins as the last man, and penalty for Zimbabwe. And the ref couldn’t stand his ground when giving the indirect free kick earlier for Nigeria. @CAF_Online #ZimNga
— Tomi Oladipo (@Tomi_Oladipo) November 19, 2023
Him giving that indirect free kick shows much more how backward African football is
— Voice Of Reason (@Cjay_Anthony) November 19, 2023
Shocking officiating from the referee there and shameful decision from the super eagles players to attempt to score from that indirect free kick. Where's your fair play? #SoarSuperEagles
— Akanimo Hanson (@Hanzzz25) November 19, 2023
I am a State referee and I am still trying to understand that interpretation. Could have been a drop ball due to the indirect free kick called but that happened way earlier. He is lucky it didn't lead to a goal. Explanation is still needed for the call though.
— Bayonle Arashi (@bayonlearashi) November 19, 2023
Why was an indirect free kick awarded to Nigeria? Officiating is awful
— Tomi🇳🇬 (@tomiofowo) November 19, 2023
Na God save am say Nigeria no score from that indirect kick he gave…
Shocking decision to award an indirect kick in the first place. https://t.co/7FTavD6OhN
— CONVERT 🇳🇬 (@ConvertOdds) November 19, 2023