Malawian Fifa referee Gift Chicco will not officiate a CAF Confederations Cup match between Association Sportive de Kigali and CS Sfaxien at Regional Kigali Stadium in Kigali, Rwanda, this Saturday after testing positive for Covid-19.
The first grade referee was supposed to be in charge of the match with compatriots Clemence Kanduku and Innocent Kaundula as first and second assistant referees, respectively while Gift Nkhakananga, was named fourth official for the match.
But following the positive test result, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) referees development officer Maxwell Mtonga said Chicco will now be replaced by Nkhakananga.
“We got the results for the referees on Tuesday. We reported the matter to CAF [Confederation of African Football] and I just got communication that Nkhakananga should replace Chicco as centre referee for the match. The fourth official will come from Rwanda,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chicco said he is confident that he will get better and bounce back in action.
“I took the news positively and will just follow the advice from health experts,” he said.
On his missing the international assignment, Chicco said he was confident that his replacements will do a good job as well.
“Of course it’s a game that could have put my name on the international map. But I am not bitter. The good thing is that it’s fellow Malawian referees that will take charge of the game,” he said.
Chicco and Nkhakananga are among Malawi’s four centre referees on Fifa list alongside Alfred Chilinda and Ishmael Chizinga while Joseph Nyauti, Ibrahim Mafuleka, Kambatuwa, Kanduku, Innocent Kaundula and Jonazio Luwizi, are Fifa assistant referees.
Rose Zimba and Agnes Chamayere are female Fifa centre referees while Happiness Mbandambanda and Bernadette Kwimbira Nzika are Fifa female assistant referees.