The Boys’ and Girls’ football tournaments at the Region 5 Games Maseru 2020 are not just about developing the new stars of tomorrow, but also a chance for rookie match officials to get a taste of international action and invaluable experience.
A total of 12 referees and 11 assistant referees have been called up for the two tournaments that will take place in Lesotho from November 30-December 9, with a couple still at school!
COSAFA Referees Manager Felix Tangawarima says the Under-17 tournaments are a vital training ground for referees, and usually their first taste of international football. It is the only age-group where COSAFA is allowed to use non-FIFA registered match officials and therefore is the perfect setting to get them on a path to becoming a FIFA official.
“There are new teams of officials that have come in, which is usual for the COSAFA Under-17 tournaments,” Tangawarima says. “This is the one age-group where we are allowed to use non-FIFA referees because it is a development group.
“Almost all the referees that will be in Maseru are not FIFA-registered, and many are very young, but we have seen in the past the incredible benefit of having match officials begin their journey in this age-group.
“In fact, all the top referees that we have in COSAFA right now followed the same path, and some have gone all the way to the FIFA World Cup.
“We never let them skip a stage, they start at Under-17, then if they become FIFA-registered they move on to Under-20s and finally the senior tournament. By then they are usually ready for continental competitions.
“If they do not get FIFA-registered for the Under-20s, then we bring them back to the Under-17s for more experience. This is the feeder line that we have created, and it is very successful.
“It is where we teach them about the philosophy of what we do as COSAFA.”
Tangawarima says that the male and female referees will be woven between the two competitions, with the female officials taking charge of some Boys games and vice-versa.
“Women’s football is advancing at such a fast pace, and we have seen many instances in the recent past of women officiating men’s games. This tournament will be no different.
“So, what we really have is just a pool of match officials, not split by gender, and they can be called up for games in either tournament. We have full confidence in all our match officials.”
Tangawarima adds that tournaments such of these are as vital for match officials as they are for players.
“Referees can set themselves on the path to a long career in the game, which is why we try to get them in young in this age-group. To give them experience early in what is a very well-run and organised competition.”
He adds that some of the Referee Instructors that have been selected, who will work with the match officials, are also new to the international scene.
REGION 5 GAMES MASERU 2020 MATCH OFFICIALS
Fernando Malendza (Mozambique)
Tanatswa Masawi (Zimbabwe)
Michael Mwambyale (Malawi)
Raphael Mbotela (Zambia)
Vuyolwethu Khoza (Eswatini)
Abel Menyatso (Botswana)
Thato Mokgoga (South Africa)
Moselantja Mbhele (Lesotho)
Orebotse Kekobang (Botswana)
Nonjabulo Ndlela (South Africa)
Eness Gumbo (Malawi)
Grace Gimo (Zimbabwe)
MALE ASSISTANT REFEREES
Alcides Dombe (Mozambique)
Musa Nkomo (Eswatini)
Aldair Quissanga (Angola)
Mbire Tichaona (Zimbabwe)
Hangula Angula (Namibia)
Thabelang Mpheteng (Lesotho)
FEMALE ASSISTANT REFEREES
Nkhobe Makhetha (Lesotho)
Nancy Kasitu (Zambia)
Leungo Tsogang (Botswana)
Eveline Lungameni (Namibia)
Nokubong Dlamini (South Africa)
Miechel Makhoto (Malawi)
Ts’eliso Mosehle (Lesotho)
Ruzive Ruzive (Zimbabwe)
Selloane Mphuthing (Lesotho)
Julia Lekgowe (Botswana)
Arvo Mufeti (Namibia)