Burkina Faso files baseless protest

[WORLD CUP QUALIFYING: Africa] If would only make sense that World Cup 2014 qualifying in Africa, marred by numerous instances of forfeits being awarded for the use of ineligible players, would have one final controversy. Burkina Faso, which has never played in the World Cup, has protested to FIFA that Algerian captain Madjid Bougherra, whose goal in the second leg decided the series, was ineligible for accumulation of yellow cards. Unfortunately, there is nothing to charges.

Bougherra picked up a yellow card earlier in qualifying, and the Burkinabe federation claimed he received a yellow card in the first leg of the playoff series won by Burkina Faso 3-2.

Problem is, there's no record of the referee, Zambian Janny Sikazwe, issuing him a card. Bougherra said the Burkinabe federation was confused because Sikazwe came over to talk to him as captain as he was issuing a card to teammate Essaid Belkalem.

Both legs of the Burkina Faso-Algeria series were marred by controversy. In the first leg, the winning goal for Burkina Faso was scored on a penalty kick after a phantom hand ball whistled by Sikazwe.

In the second leg, Bougherra, who has a reputation for overly physical play, should have been dismissed for horrific tackle that only resulted in a yellow card.

The Burkinabe federation also protested that Senegalese referee Badara Diatta failed the  play out the full four minutes of stoppage time. Just before his final whistle, Burkina Faso hit the post.

Algeria won the second leg 1-0 to tie the series at 3-3 and win on away goals.

Bougherra said the protest was business as usual for African soccer.

"That's its charm," he told French radio RMC. "People will try anything and everything."
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