The final leg of preliminary qualifiers of the 2016 Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges (UPAC) Basketball Championship was completed in controversial circumstances as referees got lambasted by players and coaches alike.
Zone G qualifiers held at the University of Ghana (UG) had the host team beat rivals Marshalls University College 31-29 in a pulsating game which lived up to the billing of the most talked about matchup I the zone.
After the game, Marshallls head coach James Okine wasn’t pleased with officials on the day. He cited a scene where he signalled for a timeout with time running out but was ignored. He said,” I called for a timeout when the clock was at eight seconds. They didn’t give me the timeout saying, the time is almost up.”
The vocal coach was peeved about a similar incident which happened in the recent Private Universities Students Association Games (PUSAG) Basketball competition where his call for a time out was waved off by officials.
Marshalls University won the competition beating Radford University College after double overtime.
Marshalls Forward Bright Anfom shared his coach’s sentiments as he too wasn’t impressed with how officiating was handled on the day. Though he conceded his team’s offense wasn’t as good as it should have, he noted poor officiating as a major reason for Marshalls loss.
“They (referees) were doing their job and it is basketball but the game favoured the referees so it went to Legon (UG)” he said.
Earlier in the day, Pentecost University College’s head coach Nii Kwei Kortey launched a scathing attack on game officials following his side’s exit from the UPAC Championship. Pentecost’s 27-37 loss to Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) was mired in controversy as Kotey ushered Pentecost players to walk off the court in the middle of the fourth quarter.
“I don’t know what is wrong with the referees. I don’t know if they have something against us. All depends on the referees. Officiating was very bad” a clearly vexed Kotey said in an interview with Basketballghana.com
Despite the loss, Marshalls made it out of Zone G as the second best placed team and will play University of Energy and Natural Resource (UENR), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and Takoradi Polytechnic in Group B at the quarter final stage.
GIMPA and UG have been drawn in Group A alongside defending champions Accra Polytechnic and University of Development Studies-Tamale.
The 2016 UPAC Championship is headlined by Rexona, supported by Fanyogo, MTN and CAL Bank in partnership with Basketballghana.com, Y FM, TV3 and Ghana Sports Newspaper.