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Bhekizizwe in line for AFCON

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MBABANE - Premier League of Swaziland senior assistant referee Bhekizizwe Mkhabela, who officiated in the COSAFA Senior Challenge Cup final, has increased his chances of officiating in next January’s AFCON finals in Angola.

In fact, he could be joined by another top referee Mbongiseni Fakudze, who attended a high referees’ course in Kenya last month.
FA CEO Frederick Mngomezulu said the former’s appointment to officiate in the finals between winners Zimbabwe and Zambia on Sunday was a step on the right direction for bigger things.

“We are happy for him and to us this shows that the development of referees in the country is going well. Just recently we had Mbongiseni who also attended a high referees’ course in Kenya,” he said.
He said the two would inspire a lot of upcoming referees to realise that hard work pays, and he urged them to refuse to rest on their laurels after the recognition.

“The advantage here is that some members of the COSAFA Referees Committee also sit in the CAF body that assigns referees for bigger tournaments such as the AFCON.”

The country’s long-serving match official was the only one appointed to feature in the tournament held over two weeks ago in Zimbabwe. And on Sunday, he was the first assistant in the final pitting neighbours and sworn rivals Zambia and hosts Zimbabwe. The latter won the match 3-1 to record their third COSAFA Cup ever.

Commenting from Harare, Mkhabela said like a prophet who was not honoured in his own country, so were referees.
“You see, I am greatly honoured at the achievement which didn’t come on a silver platter. But one had to make sure that his performance improves,” he said.
The two referees, Mkhabela and Fakudze have become the only officials to handle a cup final in a senior tournament in the region.

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