Forget the local super stars that were present at Legon. It was the tournament referees who stole the show at the recently concluded 21st edition of the GUSA games.

They were the most coddled and protected species on the court irrespective of the decisions they took on the court.

You may like or hate them, but they have been at the forefront of officiating at the local scene for many years. The few ones that the country can boast of are the ones who are seen actively involved in almost every single basketball tournament in the West African region.

Their decisions on the court have evoked rage, contentment, and frustrations but they have remained resolute in the midst of sometimes being at the receiving end of verbal bombardments.

For the referees who officiated at the recently concluded GUSA basketball tournaments at the main basketball court of the country’s premier University, the reaction of fans to their decisions on countless occasions was nothing new.

Referees Samuel Badu and Anthony Anane were at the centre of the final crunch match between defending champions the University of Education, Winneba, and the University of Ghana, Legon.

The duo who have over twenty years experience in between them were at the centre of jeers and boos from fans for what many described as ‘indecisiveness’ in making either a good or bad call.

Adrenalin was pumping extremely high and almost every single call by them was met with some sort of disapproval.

But they stood on their grounds and interpreted the rules on the court without fear or favour among the hostile crowd.

The final game nearly sparked a huge controversy after referee Badu allowed a controversial three point goal from sniper Meme Falconer of UEW when the timer appeared to have gone to end the second quarter. The fans of Legon went mad and play stopped for well over ten minutes before sanity was restored.

It was a game that brought the best of referees Samuel Badu and Anthony Anane who had most of their calls right in the face of some crucial decisions at certain points in the game.

The Senior Fire Service Officer Badu and his compatriot Anane who works with the Ghana Prisons Service do have in between them years of handling top notch matches on the African continent and therefore needs to be encouraged to the highest level.

Officialdom and fans in Ghana should rally behind the referees and give them their unflinching support as the revolution to develop and promote the game continues unabated.

They are humans and human error is part of the game even though we don’t condone deliberate attempt to frustrate a particular team.

By: Patrick Akoto


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