By Lekan Olaseinde
Video Assistant Referee (VAR) will be used for the first time in a Confederation of Africaine Football (CAF) competition at the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Morocco when the championship gets underway in January, next year.
The usage of the latest technology was okayed by the CAF Referees’ Committee at its meeting in CAF headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, yesterday.
The experimentation of the VAR technology will commence from the quarter finals stage of next year’s tournament scheduled for 13 January to 4 February in the Moroccan cities of Casablanca, Marrakech, Tangiers and Agadir.
African referees shortlisted for FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 and with previous training in VAR will be called upon for the tournament designed exclusively for footballers playing in their domestic leagues.
In his opening remarks at the first meeting of the reconstituted committee, Suleiman Waberi, who chairs the committee, enlightened members on the importance to make collective decisions to improve officiating on the continent.
“Today we are going to make some very important decisions that will be pivotal for the future of refereeing in Africa. We will launch major projects to meet the challenges ahead. The world expects a lot from the new CAF and particularly from this reconstituted Referees Committee to make significant changes to meet the expectations of our clubs and Member Associations to silence the critics of refereeing in Africa and be at par with other Confederations,” Waberi said.
Among decisions taken was the obligation for all member associations to have a functional Refereeing Department.
Nigeria’s Home based Super Eagles are already gearing up for the CHAN championship will camp in Morocco for two weeks and are grouped alongside Rwanda, Libya and Equatorial Guinea in Group B of the championship.