Abidjan, (IVC): The TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations will for the second time feature the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology in all 52 matches of the tournament which begins in two weeks in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, the Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF) has revealed.
The VAR list adds to the official roster of match officials from various federations on the continent selected for the upcoming tournament dubbed Cote d’Ivoire 2023.
The formidable lineup of 68 highly experienced officials includes 26 centre referees, 30 assistant referees, and 12 VAR referees, each having previously officiated at various CAF international competitions.
The introduction of VAR right from the group stage marks a significant departure from past practices where VAR was introduced only from the quarterfinals onwards, notably during the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt 2019.
CAF’s strategic move is not only geared towards enhancing the refereeing image but also fostering the development of world-class match officials within the African context.
While Uganda is notably absent from the list of selected referees, Kenya, DR Congo, Burundi, and Rwanda proudly contribute to the continental representation.
East Africa is further represented by the dynamic duo of Gilbert Cheriyot and Yiembe Stephen from Kenya, both serving as assistant referees.
The selected officials are set to converge on Cote d’Ivoire on January 5, 2024, to undergo a comprehensive refresher course, encompassing both physical and theoretical testing.
This preparation is a testament to CAF’s commitment to ensuring the highest standards of officiating throughout the tournament.
The tournament will start on 13 January 2024 with host Côte d’Ivoire taking on Guinea-Bissau in the tournament opener and concludes less than a month later with the final scheduled for 11 February 2024.
The grand finale is scheduled for February 6, 2022, at the same venue, promising football enthusiasts a month-long spectacle of skill, competition, and the added dimension of VAR scrutiny from the very first whistle.
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