Former Fifa referee Anthony Raphael has resurfaced in South Africa where he wants to revive his career as the first Malawian foreign-based referee.
The centre referee, who was once tipped to follow in the footsteps of revered retired referee Bester Kalombo, disappeared on the domestic scene a year ago.
In an interview from South Africa, Raphael said he decided to try his luck in the rainbow nation after being frustrated back home.
“There is a lot of politics among referees back home. I was among the elite referees in Africa, but I was removed from the Fifa list after missing a fitness test,” he said.
Raphael claimed he was allegedly not told about the fitness test and that cost him his place on Fifa referees list.
“It’s unfortunate because by now I would have been officiating at Gabon Africa Cup of Nations finals because seven of the 11 referees that were picked alongside me for an elite course back in 2013, are the ones now at Afcon finals in Gabon.”
Asked if he is still fit to officiate games after a year break, Raphael said he still has what it takes to make it in South Africa where the competition is even tougher.
He said: “I have vast experience. I have travelled a lot alongside former Fifa top referees such as Moffat Champiti, Kalyoto Ngosi, Patrick Kapanga and Verson Lwanja. I have officiated high profile games such as World Cup qualifiers between Burundi and Lesotho, Ethiopia and Central African Republic, Ghana and Sudan, Cape Verde against Sierra Leone.
“I have also officiated CAF Champions League, Confederation Cup, Cosafa Under-20 and Under-17. For seven years I travelled in 19 countries in Africa. That should tell you that I can make it here.”
CAF referees instructor Champiti said Raphael can officiate in South Africa once he is certified fit.
“His name is already in the system. All he needs to do is get a reference letter from Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and once he passes the fitness test, he is good to go,” he said. n