Bernadetter Kwimbira-Mzika of Zomba has blazed the trail in becoming the first Malawian referee selected to officiate at a Fifa Women’s World Cup 2015 this June in Canada.
The mother of two and University of Malawi (Unima) administration office employee is among only five picked from Africa to officiate at the global showcase.
The furthest a Malawian went was at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics where revered Bester Kalombo, now retired, officiated, according to FAM referees development officer Maxwell Mtonga. Kalombo was not ready for comment yesterday.
“She has put Malawi on the map. No doubt. Her education [pursuing a degree] has contributed a lot. She underwent a computer analysis of match situations at CAF Headquarters in Cairo, Egypt and emerged number one in her class,” Mtonga explained.
Refereeing career takes two paths—that of referee and an assistant referees; a direction that has seen Kwimbira, 33, making the elite band of 44 assistants from 49 countries worldwide for the event running from June 6 to July 6.
“It feels great. I think my appointment is a result of my life-long hard work. We all dream to officiate at a big tournament. Dedication and sacrifice is essential. My message to fellow women referees is that they should focus on the job instead of getting into extra marital affairs,” Kwimbira shared her ingredients.
The Fifa committee chaired by Irish Jim Boyce has in addition to the assistants, appointed 22 referees. The referees will earn a lot while undergoing training in Switzerland and Canada in the build-up to the cup.
On its website, Fifa stated that “the referees selected for the tournament in Canada have been chosen based especially on their personality and their quality in terms of football understanding by being able to read the game and the teams’ tactical approaches towards each match.”