By FAZ Media
Two more Zambian women referees have been certified as Video Assistant Referee (VAR) thanks to regional football body COSAFA’s project aimed at training VAR officials in the region.
Mercy Zulu and Gloria Sambumba join FIFA assistant referee Diana Chikotesha who was also part of an all-female course for VAR training for referees that set the tone for the introduction of VAR at the 2023 COSAFA Women’s Championship in South Africa.
COSAFA Referees Manager Felix Tangawarima disclosed at a five-day Elite Referees course that has attracted 35 participants in Lusaka, saying COSAFA was happy with the progress the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has made in actualizing VAR in Zambia.
“I can safely say right now that from the training we did at COSAFA, Zambia now has three women certified referees as VAR through the project of COSAFA. I am very excited that even when we have VAR here, we will have somewhere to start from,” Tangawarima said.
“It’s up to the referees, FAZ is doing what they can do to have VAR come here but it’s also up to yourselves (referees) to embrace the new technology and be able to work with it.”
Tangawarima said going forward, FIFA and CAF are promoting the use of VAR in all competitions and it was now mandatory to have referees who are trained and certified in video technology.
“At next year’s Africa Cup of Nations, we are going to use VAR and if you don’t have certified VAR referees, you won’t have any representation. The project you are coming up with is important because your referees will be VAR compliant and your referees will be used to officiate games with VAR,” Tangawarima said.
FAZ president Andrew Kamanga who declared the course officially open said with retired referee Janny Sikazwe appointed Zambia VAR project lead, FAZ was determined to embrace developments across the game.
“Not too long ago, we did a memorable trial with the Video Assistant Refereeing (VAR) during the ABSA Cup final. We were happy to draw on the expertise of some of the men and women in this building today. The head of refereeing at Cosafa, Mr Felix Tangawarima played a huge part in actualizing the VAR pilot project,” Kamanga said.
“We were also happy that some locals were also part of the project and today still working on implementing it. It is obviously not going to happen overnight, but we are confident that it will be fully implemented in due course.”
Chikotesha thanked FAZ for the support rendered to the referees who have been exposed to various regional and global competitions.
“On behalf of the participants, we promise to share and implement what we have learned here and take it to our various districts and working areas,” Chikotesha said.