Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) has patted itself on the back for developing world class match officials.
In a statement titled Cosafa legacy of excellence in match officiating, Cosafa cited a number of match officials in the region, including Malawi women’s football Fifa assistant referee Bernadettar Kwimbira-Mzika for their outstanding performance at continental and world stage.
The value of the experience gained by match officials can be seen in recent appointments of Cosafa referees.
“Three of the four referees for this season’s CAF Champions League semi-finals are from southern Africa and all have a rich history with the Cosafa Cup, having cut their teeth in the competition.
“It is a healthy selection from the region and another sign of the value placed on Cosafa match officials. But it is not just in the male game where Cosafa match officials are prized. Gladys Lengwe [Zambia] will officiate at the Fifa Women’s World Cup in France in June-July, while Bernadettar Kwimbira [Malawi], Lidwine Rakotozafinoro [Madagascar] and Queency Victoire [Mauritius] will act as assistant referees,” reads the report in part.
“Three of the four African picks to run the lines were from the Cosafa region. Added to that, Jerome Damon, the hugely-respected former South African referee, has recently been appointed as Fifa’s Referee Development Officer for Africa.”
Kwimbira-Mzika said she is excited to be counted among the region’s greats.
“I feel good that my name has been mentioned among the best referees in the Cosafa region,” she said.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu told The Nation last week after Kwimbira-Mzika got selected for France 2019 World Cup has done Malawi proud.
“Bravo Bernadettar. The women keep on doing us proud. It’s not easy to be among the best referees in the world. You have done exceptionally good to achieve this feat.
“This is an honour to the country and a sign that our efforts to develop referees are being recognised,” he said.