Football Association of Malawi has challenged local referees to raise their game and become relevant on the international scene.
FAM Executive Committee member and Chairman of the FAM Referees subcommittee James Mwenda made the call at the opening ceremony of a four day Fifa Elite Referees course at the Chiwembe Technical Centre in Blantyre. Mwenda told the referees to work hard and become regular options in international matches in Africa and beyond.
“We are not getting more game time in CAF and Fifa competitions as match officials. We need to reorganize ourselves so that whenever there are international matches Malawi should be among the first countries where organisers should look for referees,” said Mwenda.
He advised local referees to emulate the feat achieved by Bernadeter Kwimbira who become the first Malawian to officiate at a Fifa World Cup final. Kwimbira was part of the officiating team at the just ended 2015 Fifa Women World Cup in Canada where she got a bronze medal having officiated in the match for third place between England and Germany.
“We should all envy Kwimbira who is a true example of how hard work pays,” he said.
Earlier on Mwenda also presided over the closing ceremony of a two day workshop for referee assessors, whom he strongly urged to ensure professionalism in grading the referees.
“Let the referees get grades that reflect their performance on the pitch and not use favoritism to award marks,” he said.
Facilitator of the course Fifa Referees Development Officer Carlos Hendrix said he is impressed with the improvement made by the Malawian Referees ever since the course was introduced six years ago.
“The performance during the physical test earlier today was so impressive we are talking of a 90 percent pass rate. That’s very commendable.We hope the same will be translated during matches,” he said.
Sulom vice president Daud Suleman said they hope the course will improve the performance of referees in the Super League where most matches in the ending first round had controversies as a result of officiation. About 33 referees are attending the course while the assessors course had 32 participants.