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Page last updated at 13:07 GMT, Saturday, 21 February 2009

CHAN referees fail fitness tests

A referee handing out a red card
The officials were dismissed just two days before the beginning of the CHAN
The kick-off of the first African Nations Championship (CHAN) has been overshadowed by a shortage of referees, after two officials failed fitness tests on Friday.

Egyptian referee Shaaban Hamdy and Sudanese assistant Khalafalla Abdelaziz were dropped from the panel of officials on Friday and forced to return home.

"The chance of two referees of officiating at the maiden edition of the CHAN has died, following their inability to pass the fitness test organised on Friday," a statement by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) said.

"The duo...failed to make the grade for the exercise organised by Caf referee instructors ahead of the tournament," the statement said.

The pair were axed on Friday just two days before the beginning of the new competition for locally-based players.

A Caf spokesman confirmed to the BBC that no replacements have been named so far, but said that he did not expect it to affect any of the games going ahead.

Sixteen officials were originally selected to oversee the matches at the two-week tournament.

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see also
Zambia thump Ivory Coast
20 Feb 09 |  African
New tourney kicks off
19 Feb 09 |  African
Ghana win CHAN thriller in Accra
01 Dec 08 |  African
CHAN joy for Zim and Tanzania
14 Dec 08 |  African
New tournament for Africa
11 Sep 07 |  African

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