The 2023 AFCON tournament has by far been the best in recent times, both in competitive spirits and in fair play, and if anyone should know, it is former AS Roma boss, Jose Mourinho.
In a recent statement, the renowned football manager expressed his admiration for the use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), lauding it as a beacon of honesty and fairness in the sport.
Having closely followed AFCON matches, Jose Mourinho highlighted the stark contrast between the implementation of VAR in African football compared to its European counterpart.
He emphasized that AFCON’s VAR system operates in a manner consistent with its intended purpose, serving to uphold the integrity of the game rather than favoring high-profile or financially influential teams.
Mourinho articulated his perspective, stating,
“In AFCON, VAR is used exactly the way it should be used. They do not use it to help the money magnet teams or famous teams. This is why you saw the best out of every team.”
One of the key points of distinction highlighted by Mourinho was AFCON’s openness to input from players and coaches regarding potential missed incidents on the field.
Unlike the stringent regulations often observed in European football, where any attempt to influence referees’ decisions regarding VAR can result in disciplinary action, AFCON encourages dialogue and review if a legitimate concern is raised by players or coaching staff.
“In Europe, if I as a coach or a player plead with a ref to go check something, it is a red card for doing that,” Mourinho lamented, shedding light on the contrasting dynamics between the two footballing regions.
Mocking Europe’s use of VAR, the Portuguese manager advocated for the centralization of VAR decision-making within the Confederation of African Football (CAF), joking that such a move could contribute to enhancing fairness and transparency in the game.
“The headquarters for VAR needs to be in CAF” the former Manchester United boss trolled.
So far in the AFCON tournament, no game has had any controversy surround it, with every decision going uncontested.