Football Association of Malawi has emphasised on the need to have more highly educated referees at Elite level to improve officiation in the country.
FAM President Walter Nyamilandu said this on Thursday when he presented a Presidential lifetime award to former FIFA referee Everson Nkwangwanya.
Nkwangwanya was among the four recipients of the 2023 FAM Presidential Awards presented during the 2023 FAM AGM at Chatonda Lodge in Nkhatabay. The other three were football Administrator Robin Alufandika, Ascent Academy, and former Flames goalkeeper Dennis Saidi and just like Saidi, Nkwangwanya did not make it to Nkhatabay hence the official award presentation at his home in Chigumula.
He became a referee in 1971 while working as a Senior manager for Commercial Bank Branch in Zomba.
Nyamilandu said having highly educated referees like how Nkwangwanya was will help professionalise the game as there will be no room for bribes and corruption since the referees will be able to sustain their lives on top of refereeing.
“I am privileged and honored to present this award to a highly respected referee Mr Everson Nkwangwanya. I remember in our hey days when I was still playing football and even before that, he did a recommendable job and when his name was recommended, I did not hesitate.
“Our memories of his integrity and competence are still fresh and we appreciate his contribution to the game.
“He was officiating games while working as a bank manager and did his education at highest level. Currently we have very few highly educated referees compared to the past and to an extent this is also affecting the quality of officiation in the country. We will scout for potential referees in universities and other territory education institutions to ensure we recruit and groom top referees to improve officiation in the country,”, he said.
Nkwangwanya was grateful to FAM for the recognition.
“This is a wonderful day to me and I am grateful to FAM for recognizing my contribution to the game. I was working as a senior bank manager, at the same time officiating games and my secret was treating everyone equally because they were people just like me and this made me to be respected by both players and officials so I never had any challenges,” he said.
Everson Nkwangwanya Profile
Everson was born on 9th July 1943. He qualified as a referee in 1971 while working for Commercial Bank. He moved to Zomba where he officiated matches and worked as a Bank Manager between 1974 and 1976)
In 1978 he was picked on to FIFA List and became FIFA Referee while working as Commercial Bank Manager in Lilongwe. He got moved to Blantyre in 1983 where he continued football officiation as a FIFA Referee and a National Football Referees Instructor.
He was Chair of FAM Referees Subcommittee from 1985 to 1988.
During his time, he mostly got international appointments and travelled together with Bester Kalombo and Billy Phambala. At that time referees were not specializing; one would officiate as a referee today and tomorrow as a linesman yet wearing a FIFA Referees’ Badge.
He retired from active football refereeing in 1989.