ZIMBABWE referees will be among the first in the COSAFA region to undergo training on the use of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) with the country scheduled to host the zonal training on the concept in the first quarter of this year.
VAR has now been incorporated into the Laws of the Game and the local referees’ body intends to submit all its members for the training, subject to the organisers’ requirements.
The VAR concept has been effectively used at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations taking place in Cote d’Ivoire.
COSAFA head of referees Felix Tangawarima, who is also in Cote d’Ivoire as a technical instructor at the AFCON, confirmed that CAF will be sending equipment for the training of match officials in the region.
Speaking to South African broadcaster SABC, Tangawarima said the equipment will be in Cosafa in about a fortnight’s time.
“We are working hand-in-hand with CAF as far as VAR is concerned. I think within the next week or two, CAF is going to send us training equipment for our region, which means we are communicating with CAF in whatever we are doing,” said Tangawarima.
“We are in there together (with CAF) and at the end of the day, we bring a product. We will be using it (VAR) in the senior challenge which is around May and I encourage the national associations, in addition to the referees we select as a zone, to sacrifice and bring more referees for our five-day training programme. That will help a lot as that means they will not wait for the scheduled training in their home countries.
“If they can bring a bigger pool of referees for training, they will benefit and when they go back to their countries, they will have the knowledge on what is going on. We cannot do it alone as zones, but we need national associations.
“Things have changed, we are now into technology. They must not allow their referees to be left behind. The train is not stopping”.
ZIFA Referees Committee chairperson, Norman Matemera, said Zimbabwe has since been confirmed as hosts for the VAR training.
After successfully hosting the COSAFA Schools tournament in December last year, Matemera said, the country was given the nod to stage the critical training.
“As soon as we were confirmed as the hosts for the COSAFA Schools tournament, we were also guaranteed that we would also host the VAR training once the equipment from CAF arrives in the region,” said Matemera.
“VAR is an important aspect in modern day officiating as evidenced by its wide use across the globe.
“It will be a beneficial addition to this country as we strive to improve our game in all facets. After all, VAR is now part and parcel of the Laws of the Game and we cannot do without it.
“So the sooner we have it the better. It will also help our officials on the FIFA panel as they do duty internationally. We are eagerly waiting for the training.
“We are not sure how many referees we will be asked to second at the training, but if possible, we will be ready to dispatch all those we have in the system.”