Fifa assistant referee Bernadette Kwimbira-Nzika has, for the second consecutive time, been selected among elite referees to officiate at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games football tournament.
The tournament is scheduled to start from July 21 to August 7.
Football Association of Malawi referees desk officer Maxwell Mtonga confirmed the development which comes after Kwimbira also officiated at the Rio 2016 Games in Brazil.
“Kwimbira’s appointment shows that she is highly-rated for her character and performance both on and off the pitch.
“The two appointments are very good for her career as well as recognition for Malawi since she will be flying our flag.
“As a department, we have always urged other referees to emulate Kwimbira’s character if they are to go places like her,” he said.
On her part, Kwimbira-Nzika said the appointment came as a surprise because she never expected to be picked.
“This is a great honour for me. I thought the Rio Games were the first and last senior Olympic competition for me because my colleague Gladys Lengwe from Zambia, whom I have always been selected with for big tournaments, retired last year. I thought I couldn’t go anywhere without her. But with her encouragement and hard work, here I am now,” she said.
The former athlete promised to perform to her best at the tournament.
“I do not take this for granted and I would like to thank my trainers for always being there for me when I need support. It is my promise that as I fly the Malawi flag in Tokyo, I will perform to the best of my ability,” said Kwimbira-Nzika.
The Zomba-based assistant referee made history by becoming the first woman to officiate at a CAF men’s senior tournament during the African Nations Championship (Chan) finals.
She has also been selected to officiate at the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup finals to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
Kwimbira-Nzika has previously officiated at the 2019 and 2015 Fifa Women’s World Cups and five Africa Cup of Nations Women’s finals.