Video technology is the solution
HARDLY a week passes without a controversial refereeing decision in football which influences the outcome of matches and ultimately undoes months or even years of preparations by the ‘victim’ side.
Last week was no different in the FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifiers ahead of next year’s sporting showcase in Russia.
Ghana’s hopes of qualifying were dashed by the apparent poor officiating as the Black Stars were denied two ‘clear’ goals from Andy Yiadom and Raphael Dwamena which were ruled off side by the assistant referee.
The West African country has since lodged a protest with FIFA after the debacle.
Ghana are third in group E with six points, three less than group leaders, Egypt, who have a game in hand against Congo on Sunday. Egypt can qualify with a game to spare by avoiding defeat.
Zambia were similarly denied when Augustine Mulenga raced past the Nigerian defence to put the ball in the nets. Nigeria won the match and became the first African team to book their spot in Russia.
The defeat left Zambia second in group B, a point ahead of Cameroon.
However, the president of the Zambia Football Association has announced that they will not be appealing the result.
These and many other shortcomings on the part of match officials are bound to resuscitate the debate as to whether or not football should follow the lead of disciplines such as cricket in introducing video technology to resolve contentious issues.
When all has been said and done, I agree with those who say that the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) should be used in football.
It is only fair to turn to technology, given the controversies which occur every season around the world and given the fact that football has become a high stakes sport where careers are made or broken, billions of hard currency are made or lost on the basis of bad officiating.
It is not a good thing that teams are always complaining of bad refereeing decisions after losing important matches.To prepare for matches is costly and if a team loses a match due to bad referring that affects them financially and psychologically too.
Transformation is not always welcome to some but I am confident that with time, even opponents of VAR will appreciate its necessity when they come to see its efficacy in resolving otherwise sticky situations.
This might be very expensive to some developing countries but it is a necessity that we will all come to appreciate with time.
It might not seem a big problem to us now but who knows what will happen when Likuena finally realise their potential and take on one of the big boys in a high stakes contest?