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MBABANE – Top referee Mbongiseni Fakudze has pulled the plug on his illustrious refereeing career.

About six months after retiring as an international referee, the 44-year-old has now completely ended his refereeing career spanning more than 20 years. He last officiated in the EswatiniBank Cup final, which Young Buffaloes won 1-0 over Royal Leopard at Somhlolo National Stadium about a fortnight ago.
Impeccable sources close to the referee, also confirmed learning about the latest developments.

Fakudze did not wait until the end of the season to retire. He is not officiating in the last two league games of the season following his decision not to attend a mandatory fitness test last Sunday at Somhlolo National Stadium. Referees who fail the test or miss it without permission, get frozen until they pass the next one about three months later. When Fakudze retired from FIFA in December last year, he had hinted that he might retire at the end of this season. The FIFA retirement age for referees is 45.


Meanwhile, Fakudze started refereeing in his early 20s. He got his FIFA badge in 2002 and remained an international referee until December 31, 2018. He officiated in high-profile games that include the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) Cup final between Mozambique and South Africa in 2008.  Another big game he manned included a World Cup qualifier between Burundi and DR Congo in 2016. 

When sought for comment yesterday, his phone rang unanswered and he was yet to respond to a message sent to his phone by 6pm yesterday.  Eswatini Football Association (EFA) Marketing and Communications Officer Muzi Radebe said he was yet to get a correspondence from the referees manager regarding the issue.

Referees Manager Sifiso Zondo could only confirm that Fakudze missed the fitness test, but said he was yet to learn about the retirement.
Reports suggest Fakudze might consider a career in the administration of refereeing after being seen attending classes of match commissioners and assessors a few months ago.

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