‘The Cheater’: African Soccer Ref Strikes Yet Again

Today in a World Cup match against Slovenia that ended 2-2, the U.S. was robbed of a potential game-winning goal by referee Koman Coulibaly (#42!) thanks to a phantom foul call by the native of Mali.


To international soccer observers well-versed in the performance of officials, today’s inexplicable performance by Coulibaly came as no surprise.

Though officiating his first World Cup, Coulibaly has long been a center of controversy in past international matches. His handiwork involving Tunisia in the 2010 Africa Cup resulted in fans setting up a Facebook group calling for his removal from FIFA. The group was called: “TUNISIA ALL AGAINST Koman Coulibaly the cheater.

Coulibaly though is most known for an inexplicable call in a 2006 World Cup qualifying match that should’ve handed home team Cameroon a spot in the World Cup - which in turn would’ve absolutely robbed Ivory Coast in the process. From Yahoo Eurosport:

Coulibaly awarded Cameroon a disputed stoppage-time penalty kick in their final 2006 World Cup qualifier against Egypt in Yaounde (Cameroon) that, had they converted, would have taken them through to the finals.

Instead, Cameroon’s Pierre Wome was unable to convert the gift-wrapped goal from Coulibaly, striking a post and sending Ivory Coast to Germany. (Wome’s miss resulted in his obligatory fear for life and limb.)


But Coulibaly’s World Cup assignment isn’t the most outrageous officiating injustice of the tournament - by a longshot!

FIFA has officially assigned 30 officials from 28 countries to the World Cup. Officials from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Malaysia and Coulibaly’s Mali have all drawn duty. (New Zealand landed two officiating spots!)

How many officials from the United States were selected by FIFA to work the World Cup?