South African referee Victor Gomes to officiate at Tokyo Olympics
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JOHANNESBURG - Three football referees from the Southern African region over the weekend were selected to officiate at the Tokyo Olympics.
South African referee Victor Gomes has been selected by Federation of International Football Associations (Fifa) to participate at the Games in Japan, along with assistant referees Arsenio Marengula (Mozambique) and Souru Phats’oane (Lesotho).
“It confirms the development work we are doing with our referees in the region,” said Felix Tangawarima, the Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) referees manager.
“We started with these match officials in the Under-17s and so it is really heartwarming to see how they have grown through the effort we have put into them, but also their own hard work to always want to improve and do better.
“It is a great achievement for us as a zone and, like I said, it is very pleasing to be reaping the benefits of the development programme that we started.”
Tangawarima says it is not only the men’s referees who are excelling in the region though, but several women’s match officials are making their mark, including in the men’s game.
“We had referee Akhona Makalima [from South Africa] who went to the Caf Under-20 Cup of Nations and did very well alongside Celso Alvacao [from Mozambique].
“In 2019 we had assistant referee Diana Chikotesha [from Zambia], who officiated at the Caf Under-23 Cup of Nations that served as the qualifiers for the Olympics. She also did very well. At the Chan [African Nations Championship] we also had assistant referee Bernadettar Kwimbira [from Malawi].”
As for the immediate future, Tangawarima says the aim is to develop referees in Beach Soccer and Futsal, with Cosafa hoping to stage tournaments in those two codes this year.
“It is an area where we are a little bit behind, mainly because we have not been holding tournaments in these two areas.
“But now I am organising a five-day course for these areas, where we will be assisted by an instructor from Fifa, as well as our local instructors. We need to get this aspect up and running to make sure we are ready for our tournaments.” - African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Michael Sherman