After Lae City’s Raymond Gunemba wasn’t in the starting eleven for the side’s 8-1 victory over FC Kutubu last weekend, Oceania Football Center has learned that Gunemba was suspended for the match, and for a further four National Soccer League matches, after he pushed the referee at the end of Lae’s 2-1 defeat to Vitiaz United earlier in the season.
Lae City FC have appealed the suspension.
According to FIFA’s disciplinary code, Gunemba may have actually gotten off lightly. FIFA’s regulations state:
Players and officials shall be suspended for misconduct as specified below and may be fined accordingly:
i) at least four matches or an appropriate period of time for unsporting behaviour towards a match official;
j) at least ten matches or an appropriate period of time for intimidating or threatening a match official;
k) at least 15 matches or an appropriate period of time for assaulting a match official, e.g. elbowing, punching, kicking, biting, spitting, hitting,FIFA Disciplinary Code
Now, nowhere in here does it specify ‘pushing’; and yes, most would agree that Gunemba didn’t go as far ‘assaulting’ the referee, using the terms mentioned above. But it could certainly have counted as intimidation and, at the very least, unsporting behaviour. So, somewhere between four and ten matches is a reasonable response from the PNGFA on this occasion, and we’re not sure how successful the club’s appeal will be.
It is likely that Gunemba will therefore be unavailable for Lae’s crunch match against Hekari United this weekend, and if he is made to serve the full five-match suspension, he will also miss the matches against Tusbab Stallions, Gulf Komara, and the return fixture against Hekari United on March 28th, which would be the final game of his suspension.
Lae’s 8-1 victory last week demonstrates that they may well have the firepower up front to cope with Gunemba’s absence with ease, but Hekari’s defence is a mean one, and without their talismanic striker, who has an excellent scoring record against Hekari, Lae will have to think of something different if they’re to keep their title challenge on track.