Ghana coach James Appiah believes the outcome of Monday’s Round of 16 shootout defeat to Tunisia at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Egypt would have been different had Video Assistant Referees (VAR) been deployed earlier.
The Black Stars’ hopes of lifting a fifth continental title crashed at Ismailia Stadium following a 5-4 loss on penalties, the match having ended 1-1 after extra-time.
There was a moment of controversy in the first half when captain Andre Ayew backheeled a Jordan Ayew cross into the net, only for South African referee Victor Gomes to disallow the goal for a handball by Thomas Partey who set up Jordan Ayew. Video replays, though, showed the ball came off the Atletico Madrid man’s chin.
“We had a lot of opportunities to finish the game before 90 minutes. If we had VAR to check on the [disallowed] goal, maybe it would have been a different result,” Appiah said at the post-match press conference.
“In a game of football, you may create so many chances but if you are unlucky, it happens. You get so many chances but you mess around.
“I think that since it [VAR] is being used in the whole world and we all know the benefits [Caf should use it too]. Sometimes if you lose points because of the mistake of a referee, I don’t think it’s the best competition,”
Video assistant referees are set to be deployed from the quarter-final stage of the competition only.
“In future, if Caf can start from the onset [of the tournament], I don’t think it will do anyone harm. It benefits everyone. Any decisions that are taken, the video review referees will show what it is.
“I don’t like criticising referees [but] I think he should look at the video again and judge himself – that’s the best thing to do.”
It is the first time since 2006 that Ghana have failed to make the quarter-finals at Afcon.
“When you create chances and you don’t utilise them, this is the sort of thing that happens,” Appiah said.
“I feel bad because this was a very tough game, the expectations were very high. We did our best but unfortunately, when it comes to penalties, it can go either way.”
Ghana have now lost their last four shootouts at Afcon after winning their first one against Libya in the 1982 final.