South African official Victor Gomes was even congratulated by Safa for being appointed for the Afcon final. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

South African referee Victor Gomes was never appointed as the referee for the Africa Cup of Nations final.

That is the word from the chairman of the Caf Referees Commission, Souleyman Waberi, after Cameroon ’s Alioum Alioum was named as the ‘new’ referee for the title decider between Senegal and Algeria in Cairo on Friday night (9pm SA time kickoff).

The Insideworldfootball website reported on Friday that Waberi insisted that Gomes’ ‘appointment’, which was announced on Caf’s social media channels, had not been made by the commission.

“The Referees Commission did not make any appointment of the referee for today’s final until after the third-place match, between Nigeria and Tunisia . I was very shocked, like anyone else, to see the announcement of Victor Gomes on Caf’s social media handles,” Waberi said.

“The moment I saw it, I went to see Anthony Baffoe (Caf’s Deputy General Secretary – Football and Development) and asked him who gave the communications department the right to make such an announcement?

“He was also surprised about it. We then had to order that those announcements be taken off all Caf social media.

“This type of mistake should never happen. But the announcement of Gomes never came from the Referees Commission.

“We must improve our communication as an organisation. What happened is not acceptable, and people have the right to criticise us for this.”

The embarrassing episode led to even the SA Football Association sending out a statement of congratulations to Gomes.

But it all turned out to be a false alarm.

The Caf head of marketing, Abdel Bah, told the InsideWorldFootball website that a separate company who handled the organisation’s digital communication during Afcon was to blame for the gaffe.

“We are using an external company for our social media offerings during this tournament. Unfortunately, those responsible got news, from outside Caf, that Victor Gomes was the referee,” Bah said.

“They thought that the information officially came from Caf, which they failed to cross-check.

“As soon as the Referees’ Commission heard about this, they informed us that the information was not correct, and it was taken down.”

Gomes will not be involved in the final in any capacity, but another South African, Zakhele Siwela, will be one of the VAR assistants.


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