In a significant development for Zambian football, the upcoming ABSA Cup Final is set to make history with the implementation of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology.
Confirmed by the VAR project manager, Janny Sikazwe, this introduction aims to ensure fairness and accuracy in the beautiful game.
Forest Rangers and FC MUZA, two teams with remarkable journeys, will be competing in their maiden ABSA Cup Final. The anticipation surrounding this historic match has been further heightened by the introduction of VAR, which promises to add a new layer of excitement and precision to the proceedings.
Earlier today, both teams gathered at the ABSA House for a comprehensive briefing on the use of VAR, its associated rules, and the expectations surrounding its implementation. The meeting sought to familiarize the players with the system and its impact on the game.
Janny Sikazwe, the VAR project manager, emphasized that VAR would be employed in specific scenarios to guarantee fairness and accuracy. The four main areas where VAR will come into play are as follows:
Goal Checking: VAR will assist in determining whether a goal has been validly scored. This crucial aspect of the game, often prone to controversy, will benefit from the additional technology to ensure correct decisions are made.
Direct Red Card Decisions: The use of VAR will help referees in assessing incidents that warrant a direct red card. This will enable them to review the footage and make informed decisions, minimizing errors that can have a significant impact on the outcome of the match.
Mistaken Identity: VAR will aid referees in situations where there may be confusion or mistaken identity regarding players involved in an incident. This will contribute to accurate identification and subsequent disciplinary actions.
Penalty Decisions: The implementation of VAR will play a vital role in penalty situations, helping referees determine whether a foul has occurred within the penalty area. By carefully reviewing the footage, referees will be able to make fair and informed decisions.
To maintain the integrity of the game and the effective use of VAR, players have been cautioned against instructing referees to request a VAR check. Such actions will be considered a bookable offense, and players could potentially receive a red card for their interference.
Acknowledging the additional time required for VAR checks, the match officials have decided to allocate more added time in each half. This adjustment aims to compensate for any delays caused by the technology and ensure that the game progresses smoothly.
The ABSA Cup Final, taking place tomorrow at the renowned Woodlands Stadium, is expected to be a memorable event. Adding to the significance of the occasion, His Excellency, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema, will grace the match with his presence, further emphasizing the importance of football in the nation.
As Zambian football embraces the technological advancements of the modern game, the introduction of VAR in the ABSA Cup Final marks a crucial milestone. With its ability to provide a more accurate and fair assessment of critical match incidents, VAR promises to enhance the spectator experience while ensuring that the best team emerges as the rightful champion.