Ex-Internationals Joseph Yobo and Austin Jay-Jay Okocha have hailed the decision of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) which awarded a “contentious goal” to South Africa in the quarter-final game against Nigeria.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the VAR system was introduced at the quarter-final stage of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt and is being used in the competition for the first time.
It made its first significant intervention when it overruled a linesman’s decision to disallow South Africa’s Bongani Zungu’s goal for offside in their quarterfinal game against Nigeria.
Okocha and Yobo who were guests analyst on a football show hosted by Super Sports on Thursday, said VAR was a welcome development in the AFCON and must be embraced by all football stakeholders on the African continent.
“At first, I thought it was an offside goal, but then when we saw the VAR replay it was obvious that the ball came off the back of Odion Ighalo which automatically put South Africa’s Zungu onside position.
“So, it was legitimate at the end of the day and it rightly stood even though the linesman had initially ruled the goal as offside.
“That’s the beauty of VAR. A lot of people have been criticising the newly introduced technology, but the truth is that no one wants to go home feeling cheated.
“This is why we need technology in football now because the game has become a lot quicker than what it used to be and with the ordinary eyes you can’t really get everything,” Okocha said.
Yobo, on his part said: “I think with VAR there has to be a little bit more clarity. I can’t understand why they are not showing us (viewers) all the angles.
“From my understanding, they have about 12 angles, so they have to show it all to the fans, viewers and the players because these are decisive moments in a game.
“In this particular situation, I think the VAR probably got it right but can they give us some clarity earlier on? So, that decisions can be made and for viewers, fans and everybody can understand the reason behind the decision.
“But like Okocha rightly said, I think VAR is there to help the game and at the moment I think they are doing very well,” he said.