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VAR to make AFCON debut from today quarter-final stage

VAR to make AFCON debut from today quarter-final stage

The video review system (VAR) will make its Africa Cup of Nations debut on Wednesday in the last eight clash between Benin and Senegal.

The technology had sparked chaotic scenes at the CAF Champions League final two months ago and officials hope the drama of previous VAR use in the continent can be avoided in the Cup of Nations quarterfinals.

“VAR requires not only equipment, but also expertise,” stressed CAF secretary general Moaz Hajji.

“Everything is ready for its implementation.”

The technology was supposed to be used in the second leg of the CAF Champions League final between Esperance Tunis and Wydad Casablanca in Tunisia, but malfunctioned before kick-off.

Wydad refused to continue playing when a disallowed equalizer could not be reviewed, despite the team having reportedly been told before the return match VAR would be unavailable.

After a 90-minute delay, an Esperance team leading 2-1 overall were awarded the match only for the organizers to later order a replay at a neutral ground.

In the first leg of the 2018 Champions League final between Cairo club Al Ahly and Esperance, the Algerian referee used VAR to award two hotly disputed goals.

Replays suggested Walid Azaro dived to win a penalty and the Ahly forward later deliberately tore his shirt to gain another spot-kick.

Ahly won the match, but finished overall losers after a heavy second-leg defeat.

Eight weeks ago Egyptian referee Gehad Grisha was handed a six-month ban after making two VAR calls that angered Moroccan club Renaissance Berkane in the second-tier Confederation Cup final.

The suspension was dropped on appeal, allowing Grisha to be part of the referees’ panel for the Cup of Nations in his homeland.

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