Referees have been implored to use their passion for football and also apply laws of the game fairly. The sentiments were shared by the assistant minister of health and Wellness, Dikgang Philip Makgalemele on Monday when officially opening the FIFA/CAF Non FIFA Referees course.
“Refereeing is a very difficult job. In some cases you are forced to make difficult decisions and you should not let your emotions to take better side of yourselves in making judgment of an incident. You must always be fair,” Makgalemele cautioned.
According to Makgalemele referees must keep cool and apply the laws of the game. He advised them to exercise empathy while on the field of play and not to argue with players. “Don’t try to be tough person, make the penalty fit the crime and no more. Show confidence in applying the rules and use positive body language. Importantly don’t let fans get better of you and control your emotions,” he warned.
Makgalemele who is also former Botswana Football Association (BFA) president warned the match officials that the path they have chosen comes with huge responsibilities.
He observed that football is followed by many people and has many stakeholders hence the need to always be fair to avoid ruining the game and attracting negativity because of poor application of the laws.
“You should not allow emotions to take centre stage,” he warned.
In emphasizing the importance of the referees the minister said in some instances football games could not go on because there are no referees.
“Football can never be complete without referees,” Makgalemele.
Makgalemele said as football leaders they will continue preaching respect for the referees by the supporters, coaches and the players because there has to be mutual respect among all stakeholders involved if the game is to benefit.
He advised referees that they are not immune from criticism.
Referees were also advised to maintain healthy lifestyles and go for medical checkups for communicable and non communicable diseases. He observed that non communicable diseases can be cured if they are attended at any early stages.
FIFA CAF referees coordinator Hanna Abdel Sattar encouraged referees to do well and aim high. He said if they do well they will be selected to officiate in 2017 CAF/FIFA continental assignments. She also said they also stand to chance to be at the World Cup one day.
A total of 32 referees from across Africa are attending the five-day course.
Still with the FIFA referees Development Officer, Carlos Henriques is expected to attend the standoff between elite referees and the Botswana Football Association (BFA) which saw some of them being sidelined after boycotting the opening matches because of unpaid allowances. Henriques assured that he will meet both parties in pursuit of a lasting solution on referees’ grievances.