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Aftermath of draw against South Africa: Finidi ‘mad’ over VAR absence 


Finidi George was left to rue the absence of the video assistant referee (VAR) during his side’s 1-1 draw against South Africa in a 2026 World Cup qualifying match at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo on Friday night.The 1994 Africa Cup of Nations winner felt hard done by, citing two instances in which the Super Eagles were denied potential goals due to the on-field decisions by Chadian referee Alhadi Allaou Mahamat.
Mamelodi Sundowns defender Mothobi Mvala, the same player that brought down Victor Osimhen in the box in the semifinals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, resulting in a penalty, was at it again shortly before the hour mark when he savagely fouled Fisayo Dele-Bashiru.
Mvala’s foul on Dele-Bashiru went unpunished and the Super Eagles midfielder’s substitution shortly afterwards added insult to injury. 
Later in the 75th minute, the lively Samuel Chukwueze missed a glorious chance to score the game-winning goal when his effort came off the woodwork. 
Although television replays clearly showed the ball did not cross the line, Finidi emphasized that goal-line technology would have definitely determined whether the ball went in. 
Asked for his opinion on the penalty call not given and Fifa introducing VAR in African Fifa World Cup qualifiers going forward, Finidi responded: “We all saw the AFCON, where it was used properly. Even the Europeans were applauding the AFCON where calls were mad correctly.
“I don’t understand why in the qualifiers like this where everything counts we couldn’t have a play properly checked for us to know if a goal has been scored or not.
“The Chukwueze ball, from where I was standing I don’t know if it crossed the line but if we had VAR that would have given us a better view. I’m just the coach, I can’t change the rules of Fifa and CAF.”
With the Super Eagles next match in the World Cup qualifiers coming in two days, against Gernot Rohr’s Benin in Abidjan, they have to get over the draw quickly and focus on their next game. 

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