PRETORIA: Burkina Faso’s Jonathan Pitroipa has been cleared to play in the Africa Cup of Nations final against Nigeria on Sunday after his ban was rescinded.

Referee Slim Jdidi admitted that he mistakenly issued the winger with a second yellow card for simulation in the semi-final against Ghana and the Confederation of African Football confirmed that the resultant ban would be overturned.

Sunday’s clash in Johannesburg pits twice-champions Nigeria against a side who had never won a match on foreign soil at the Nations Cup until these finals. Burkina Faso’s previous best saw them reach the semi-finals as hosts in in 1998.

A CAF spokesman said: “The referee wrote the letter to the review committee saying he had made a mistake. The review committee examined footage of the incident and agreed Pitroipa had been fouled.

“It asked the disciplinary committee to verify its decision, which [it] is entitled to do under the terms of CAF’s rules and regulations.”

Pitroipa, who plays for French side Rennes, will be a key player in Paul Put’s side, who are missing three0goal top scorer Alain Traore who injured a thigh in the final group game against Zambia.

Pitroipa was shown a second yellow card in the final minutes of extra-time against Ghana by Tunisian official Jdidi, earning a caution for simulation even though John Boye appeared to trip the Burkinabe inside his own area.

CAF president Issa Hayatou admitted earlier on Friday that refereeing mistakes had been made at the tournament.

He said: “Overall we are satisfied but we experienced some mistakes with the referees especially at the semi-final between Ghana and Burkina Faso, and there were other errors too at the Tunisia v Togo [group] match,” he said.

CAF secretary-general Hicham El Amrani said at a press conference in Johannesburg on Thursday that the confederation was unhappy with the standard of officiating in the Nelspruit semi-final.

Jdidi infuriated Burkina Faso when not only sending off Pitroipa after he had seemingly won a penalty but also awarding Ghana a debatable spot-kick themselves, before disallowing a legitimate-looking Stallions goal.

El Amrani said: “We would have expected a better standard.

“We know they can make mistakes but we expected a better level of refereeing. They are graded on each performance and based on his marks the referee from Tunisia is now suspended for a period of time still to be determined.”

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