Botswana’s finest referee Joshua Bondo is among the top 20 officials piloting the newly implemented CAF route to refereeing professionalizing.
CAF took its first step in professionalizing referring in the continent with selection of a pilot group of 20 referees contracted for a period of one year.
In selecting the maiden group for the project, CAF revealed that Africa officiating representatives for the 2022 FIFA World cup will be picked from the group of 20.
In a press release, CAF refereeing manager Eddy Maillet revealed that the group’s welfare will be taken care by Africa’s football mother body with monthly allowances.
Each of the six CAF zones will be assigned two instructors expected to work with the referees physically and technically. Supplied with equipment, the referees will be monitored with sessions through Zoom and monthly assessments.
With the enhanced training of professionalism, it is said that it will assist arbitrators to match up with the ever-evolving physical and mental nature of the game.
A research conducted from the 2014 FIFA World cup in Brazil indicated that players averaged 11.2 km of running per match and it is critical for officials to train full time for a balanced performance.
With referees required to be at least 18m away from the ball to improve accuracy at all times, the demands of their fitness is said to be crucial hence the need to have them move towards being professionals in the game as much as players and coaches
The 42-year-old Bondo started his refereeing career in 2004 in the lower leagues and made a remarkable rise as he was selected in the panel of referees for the then St Louis Premier League for the 2004/05 season.
Three years later Bondo’s hard work was awarded with the best referee of the under 17 tournament that was held in Namibia. While his dream has always been to officiate at international meets, the Senete born Bondo has handled big temperament matches across Africa.
Some of the big matches Bondo handled includes the 2019 Group E Afcon match that pitted African giants Tunisia and Mali followed by quarter finals match when Nigeria locked horns against rivals Cameroon.
The lanky referee also handled CAF champions league matches with some including African heavyweights in the likes of Wydad Casablanca, Mamelodi Sundowns, TP Mazembe, Esperance and Zesco United.
Some of the top referees in the continent included in the piloting of the project are the likes of South African Victor Gomez, Gambian Gassama Papa, Algerian Ghorbal Mustapha, Mali’s Boubou Traore and Egyptian Amin Mohamed Omar.