TOP South African referee Jerome Damon has defended his decision to award Egypt their third goal in their 3-1 win over Cameroon in the African Cup of Nations quarterfinal match on Monday.
Damon yesterday told Sowetan he relied on assistant referee Celestin Ntagungira from Rwanda, saying he was in a better position to make the call.
Television replays show that Ahmed Hassan's attempt did not cross the line, but Damon said Ntagungira assured him through the earpiece that it was a goal.
"Celestin was in a better position than me and I could not doubt his decision," explained the celebrated whistleman.
"I went with his decision and awarded the goal.
"Coaches are arguing over images they can review over and over again.
"The information we received is that television replays show that it did not cross the line, but we have not seen the footage yet," said Damon.
That was the third game handled by Damon at the 2010 Afcon. He was in the middle when Ivory Coast beat Ghana 3-1 in Cabinda last week.
In his first game of the tournament, Damon was the fourth official when Chipolopolo of Zambia played to a 1-all draw against Tunisia.
Damon also refereed when Gabon caused a major upset by beating Cameroon 1-0 in their opening match of the tournament.
The other South African match officials in Angola are referee Daniel Bennett and assistant referee Enoch Molefe who, like Damon, are also schoolteachers.
Damon and Molefe are under tremendous pressure to perform to the best of their ability as they are on the 2010 Fifa World Cup provisional referees' panel.
Bennett has been selected to handle the semifinal match between Ghana and Nigeria tomorrow.
"We are all proud of Jerome, Daniel and Enoch, who are doing well in Angola," said Safa president Kirsten Nematandani.
During the 2008 tournament in Ghana, Molefe handled the final between eventual winners Egypt and Cameroon.
Damon was the referee of the third-place playoff where Ghana won bronze after brushing aside Ivory Coast.