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MBABANE – The 31 referees currently undergoing the Member Associations (MA) Referees Course were successful in the fitness test held on Sunday at Mavuso Sports Centre.

This was revealed by Referees Manager Sifiso Zondo during the official opening ceremony of the referees’ course held at the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) Technical Centre in Lobamba yesterday. The referees comprise of 11 FIFA-accredited and 19 national referees. There are at least two female referees from the regions. They have been identified as 22-year-old Goodness Simelane from Mbulungwane and Temakholo Matsebula. The five-day course started on Monday and will end on  Friday. Zondo said two of the referees did not undergo the physical fitness test based on medical grounds. These were Mbongeni Myeni and 2021/22 MTN Premier League Referee of the Season Celumusa Siphepho.


“So far, the course is going well and all of them passed the fitness test. The two who did not do the running or speed test did not fail since they produced a doctor’s report. We have 11 FIFA-accredited referees with the exception of Letticia Vianna,” Zondo said. Sipho Kunene, who is the Chairperson of the Eswatini Referees Committee, urged the referees from the elite and regional leagues to commit themselves to the course and make the necessary sacrifices. “If we are not committed, disciplined and can’t sacrifice our time, then we are nothing. Our goal is to produce referees of international standards and one day be appointed to officiate in the World Cup. Our challenge is that we have a limited number of referees in the country but it is our duty to appreciate the course that football gives us and implement what we learnt in the field so that we expand our pool,” Kunene said.

Head of Technical Instructors Gilbert Dlamini said the course was aimed at equipping the referees with skills to help them attain international recognition through implementation of their knowledge in the field of play. He said the topics that had already been covered included amendments and revision of Laws of the Game such as the hand ball and off-sides. “We are doing amendments and hope to have covered a great depth by the end of the week,” Dlamini said. Also present was EFA President Peter ‘Samora’ Simelane who commended the referees and the team of instructors for their commitment and dedication to the course. Simelane further congratulated Letticia Vanna who recently returned from the recently-ended Women Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in Morocco, where  she was in charge of the July 7, 2022 clash group stage clash between Botswana and Nigeria, which ended 2-0 in favour of the latter.


“Your enthusiasm and zeal in the course is highly commendable. I would like to congratulate Letticia Viana for her appointment in the WAFCON. For a developing country like Eswatini, this shows that we are one step away from World Cup appointments and that is a sign of growth. We pray that she will be appointed for World Cup duties,” Simelane said. The instructors also include fitness trainers in Bongani Mthupha, Phinda Dlamini and Technical Instructor Buhle Mkhatjwa.

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