Match officials get boost at COSAFA Under-20 Women’s Championship

The COSAFA Under-20 Women’s Championship will be a chance not only for players showcase their skills, but also the emerging female referees in the region to hone their talent.

The inaugural finals in this age-group will take place in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality from August 1-11, where eight teams will battle it out for the coveted title.

But it will be an important testing ground for match officials also, giving them game-time in international competition.    The COSAFA region has a rich history of producing excellent match officials and in 2018 the Confederation of African Football (CAF) sent six match officials to the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup, four of whom were from the COSAFA region.

Heralded Zambian referee Gladys Lengwe from Zambia was joined by assistant referees Bernadettar Kwimbira (Malawi), Lidwine Rakotozafinoro (Madagascar) and Queency Victoire (Mauritius).    All four individuals used that platform to shine, and were asked to officiate at the on-going 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

COSAFA Referees’ Manager, Felix Tangawarima, who is also a member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Referees Committee and a FIFA technical instructor, says the region uses junior and senior tournaments to build up their match officials.

“We now have the Under-20 tournaments for both men and women and as the referees committee, we take advantage of these tournaments to develop the referees from the most junior, until the time they become most senior,” Tangawarima says.

“One of COSAFA’s strong objectives is development. As a region, we are very proud that the long-term referee development programme has been yielding very positive results year in and year out.”

The COSAFA Under-20 Women’s Championship will be played at the same time as the 2019 COSAFA Women’s Championship (July 31-August 11) and will feature eight sides.

The draw for both competitions will be made at COSAFA House on Wednesday, July 3.