Malawi may not have qualified for the 2018 Fifa Under-20 Women World Cup finals but the solace is that referee Bernadetta Kwimbira-Mzika is among those officiating the tournament currently underway in France.
According to the Fifa’s referees list published on its website www.fifa.com, the Malawian is among 45 referees and assistants.
Of the 45 officials, 15 are referees and 30 their assistants.
The list, however, only has two referees and four assistants from Africa.
The African referees are Lidya Tafesse Abebe of Ethiopia and Zambian Gladys Lengwe.
Kwimbira-Mzika, Mary Njoroge (Kenya), Lidwine Rakotozafinoro (Madagascar) and Victoire Queency (Mauritius) are the assistant referees.
The competition kicked off over the weekend with Africa represented by teams from Ghana and Nigeria.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) referees development officer Maxwell Mtonga confirmed that Kwimbira-Mzika flew out to France while describing her as a person deserving her place at the competition.
“She is one of the most focused referees. She is always physically fit and works hard in every aspect of her life,” he said.
Mtonga said her being short-listed to officiate at the competition will inspire other local referees and aspirants that they can achieve greatly.
Kwimbira-Mzika has made significant strides in her career having been among a few referees that are assigned to officiate international men and women football matches.
Earlier this year, she was named sportsperson of the year during the inaugural Sport Awards Gala organised by the Malawi National Council of Sports.
She said afterwards that her dream is continue working hard to earn more recognition and the Under-20 Women World Cup matches could be one of the many she could officiate in her career. n