Wafcon 2022: Zambia coach Bruce Mwape queries VAR after semi-final exit

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Zambia coach Bruce MwapeBruce Mwape led Zambia on their Olympic Games debut last year and has guided the Copper Queens to their first Women's World Cup

Zambia coach Bruce Mwape questioned the purpose of the video assistant referee after his side were knocked out of the Women's Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) by a contentious stoppage-time penalty.

The spot-kick was awarded when Martha Tembo was adjudged to have fouled Jermaine Seoposenwe, and Mwape says the VAR decision was harsh on his frustrated side.

"I'm actually very disappointed with the way the penalty was given," he told BBC Sport Africa.

"In the future, people will start saying it will be pointless to have referees if the cameras can decide.

"They should just be firm, because it's high time the referees improved in terms of officiating games."

Meanwhile, Nigeria goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie was also critical of the officiating as the Super Falcons had two players sent off - both after the intervention of VAR - in their last four defeat on penalties by Morocco.

"The officiating was not really okay," she said.

Nnadozie also claimed Moroccan fans "did everything to distract" her side, with Nigerian players targeted by laser pens during their shootout.

"Since I've been playing football, this is the worst match I've ever played in my life," she added.

VAR decisions 'do not augur well'

South Africa celebrate a goal against Zambia at the Women's Africa Cup of NationsSouth Africa will meet Morocco in the Wafcon final on Saturday

There were no South African appeals when Seoposenwe went over just inside the box in the 89th minute of their game in Casablanca.

Replays showed Tembo had blocked an attempted pass before the momentum of Banyana Banyana forward Seoposenwe took her into the Zambia defender.

Three minutes later, after checking her pitchside monitor, Ethiopian referee Lidya Tafesse deemed the challenge was worthy of a penalty and Motlhalo netted her second goal of the tournament to put Desiree Ellis' side through.

Mwape admitted that Zambia wasted chances to put the game beyond South Africa, especially in the first half, but he was adamant his side were let down by the VAR controversy.

"Even the assistant also didn't see anything. So making decisions by VAR sometimes doesn't augur well," he added.

"It can be like that [VAR to improve the game], but the rate at which we are going I don't think it is improving the game.

"I can say this [semi-final] is not the first time we've had decisions go against us because even the other games that we won, some decisions were not the way they were supposed to be."

Zambia have qualified for the 2023 Women's World Cup after reaching the semi-finals at Wafcon, and will now face Nigeria in the third-place play-off at Wafcon on Friday.

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