Hugo Broos Advocates for VAR in African World Cup Qualifiers to Improve Fair Play

Hugo Broos Advocates for VAR in African World Cup Qualifiers to Improve Fair Play

Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos has highlighted a crucial but costly aspect that African football needs to address to enhance the integrity of high-stakes tournaments like the FIFA 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

Broos’ strong stance on the necessity of Video Assistant Referees (VAR) in African football follows Bafana Bafana’s 1-1 draw against Nigeria in their 2026 World Cup qualifier at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo.

Controversial Refereeing Decisions

African qualifiers for the World Cup have been marred by numerous controversial refereeing decisions. Many in the football community believe that the implementation of VAR could have rectified these errors, ensuring fairer outcomes in crucial matches.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) is responsible for implementing VAR in continental competitions, including World Cup qualifiers.

Other confederations, such as UEFA (Europe), CONMEBOL (South America), and the Asian Football Confederation, have already integrated VAR into their World Cup qualifying processes.

Broos’ Perspective on VAR

Hugo Broos is convinced that eliminating human error through VAR is vital for the continent’s football development, particularly in high-pressure tournaments like the World Cup qualifiers.

“For these kinds of games [World Cup qualifiers], I think we need VAR,” Broos stated. “It is too important, and we saw it in [2023] AFCON, and it was a good thing because there were some decisions that were incorrect, and they were corrected after VAR was consulted.”

A Painful Reminder

South Africa’s World Cup dreams were dashed in 2022 by a contentious penalty call in their loss to Ghana, a match where VAR was not in use.

That defeat remains a painful memory for Broos as Bafana Bafana set their sights on qualifying for the 2026 tournament.

“We are playing to qualify for the World Cup, and I think in such a competition, such important games, we need VAR,” reiterated Broos.

Financial Implications

While advocating for VAR, Broos acknowledges the significant financial investment it requires. He admits that the technology can be expensive, but he believes its benefits far outweigh the costs.

“But I think it is a question of money; I don’t know…I think it is expensive and I know it from my country [Belgium] too, in every competition and game VAR is used.

But it is important because one goal can decide if you go or you don’t go to the World Cup, so I think we need it,” Broos explained.

The Path Forward

The call for VAR is not just about technology but about ensuring fairness and justice in the sport.

Broos’ advocacy for VAR reflects a broader desire to see African football rise to the standards seen in other regions.

Implementing VAR in African World Cup qualifiers would not only improve the quality of officiating but also restore faith in the fairness of the game among players, coaches, and fans.

SAFA’s Efforts and Future Prospects

In a related story, SAFA’s Abdul Ebrahim has provided updates on the imminent implementation of VAR in the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

These developments indicate a positive shift towards adopting technology to enhance the quality of football officiating in Africa.

With the right investments and commitments, VAR could soon become a standard feature in African football, leveling the playing field and ensuring that matches are decided by skill and strategy rather than controversial refereeing decisions.

Conclusion

Hugo Broos’ call for VAR in African World Cup qualifiers underscores the importance of fair play and accurate officiating in football.

As African teams compete on the global stage, the implementation of VAR could be a game-changer, providing the transparency and fairness needed to ensure the best teams progress based on merit.

While the financial costs are significant, the potential benefits for the sport’s integrity and the players’ morale make it a worthy investment.