HOLLYWOODBETS COSAFA Cup 2024 match officials prepare for VAR

Referees who will be taking part in the HOLLYWOODBETS COSAFA Cup 2024 from June 26-July 7 have been put through their paces in Johannesburg over the last few days, including match officials who will manage the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system.

VAR will be used from the semi-finals onwards in Gqeberha, but also as a training tool for the whole competition with every match having officials work the system behind the scenes to better equip themselves for the real thing.

That includes some top match officials on the continent, from the north to the south, who will take advantage of this excellent opportunity to advance their training in the system as FIFA and CAF become more reliant on technology.

Match officials who are not up to speed with VAR will be left behind when it comes to major continental and global events in the future.

The likes of South Africa’s top referee Abongile Tom, recently crowned COSAFA Men’s Referee of the Year Jerson dos Santos from Angola, and Peter Waweru of COSAFA Cup guest nation Kenya have all been through VAR training.

There will also be five female referees and assistant referees put through their paces, including two of the continent’s top officials in Moroccan referee Bouchra Karboubi and Zambia’s assistant Diana Chikotesha, who was named COSAFA Female Referee of the Year at the annual awards last month.

Bouchra, Chikotesha and Fatiha Jermoumi (also Morocco) are fine-tuning ahead of the Olympic Games in Paris that starts next month.

“I will speak boldly about our VAR project as COSAFA,” COSAFA Referees Manager Felix Tangawarima said. “Now that we have received our equipment from CAF, we want every Member Association within COSAFA to have VAR certified referees, so it does not impact us when it comes to CAF and FIFA appointments.

“Right now we are struggling because we don’t have many referees certified, so when it comes to the big games in CAF and FIFA, our match officials are not being appointed.

“So what we are trying to do is to bridge the gap between those who are certified and those who are not. We have made progress as COSAFA, I think we are the only zone on the continent who are doing this every year.

“This year three of our tournaments will have VAR, probably more than CAF will do. This project will have a big impact fit match officials in the Southern African region.

“The investment that the COSAFA secretariat has made in this project is huge and we want to make sure it is money well spent. We want to say that as a zone, we will be number one in terms of VAR in Africa.”

The match officials are being put through their paces in Soweto, South Africa.

“We have some new referees encountering VAR for the first time and in this five-day training programme, which has been supported by FIFA, we are taking them through the process.

“We usually use around 22 match officials during a tournament and those that are here for the COSAFA CUP are new to VAR. Then we have another 14 who are certified already, and the reason why is that when we reach the last four teams (semifinals) we are going to be live on VAR.

“It is a requirement that we can only use certified VAR officials, so that is when they will come into play.

“CAF have seen the progress made by COSAFA in this training and have asked us to take their referees that are going to the Olympics and train with us.”



Sabelo Sibandze (Eswatini)
Lebalang Mokete (Lesotho)
Andofetra Rakotojaona (Madagascar)
Godfrey Nkhakananga (Malawi)
Patrice Milazare (Mauritius)
Mweshitsama Naftal (Namibia)
Keren Yocette (Seychelles)
Thabani Ruzario (Zimbabwe)
Brighton Chimene (Zimbabwe)
Ailton Carmelino (Angola)
Keabetswe Dintwa (Botswana)
Hillary Hambaba (Zambia)

Estanislau Prata (Angola)
Lucky Kegakologetswe (Botswana)
Mohamed Ibrahim (Comoros)
Zamani Simelane (Eswatini)
Trywell Nyirenda (Zambia)
Pondamali Tembo (Malawi)
Aswet Teeluck (Mauritius)
Kgara Mokoena (South Africa)
Alex Lumponjani (Namibia)


Peter Waweru (Kenya) – VAR/AVAR
Abongile Tom (South Africa) – VAR/AVAR
Arsenio Maringule (Mozambique) – VAR
Souru Phatsoane (Lesotho) – VAR
Jerson dos Santos (Angola) – VAR/AVAR
Dimbiniaina Andriatianarivelo (Madagascar) – VAR
Letticia Viana (Eswatini) – VAR/AVAR (Female)
Ahmad Heeralall (Mauritius) – VAR/AVAR
Maria Rivet (Mauritius) – VAR/AVAR (Female)
Diana Chikotesha (Zambia) – AVAR (Female)
Celso Alvacao (Mozambique – VAR
Mohamed Athoumani (Comoros) – VAR
Bouchra Karboubi (Morocco) – VAR/AVAR (Female)
Fatiha Jermoumi (Morocco) – AVAR (Female)
James Emile (Seychelles) – AVAR