BY ORATILE OTSETSWE
Local referees have been challenged to work hard and perform to the best of their abilities in order to advance their skills to be among the best in the world.
This comes after two prominent local referees Kutlwano Leso and Omphile Phuthego did not make a cut in the FIFA panel for the 2019 Class of Referees after failing to be awarded the FIFA Referee badges.
The two were the only ones out of fourteen (14) referees and assistant referees to have failed to make the cut. The other 12 who made the cut are comprised of four Referees, five men Assistant Referees and three women Assistant Referees.
Leso and Phuthego’s failures means the two will miss out on an opportunity to earn more money as they will not be officiating in international games.
The FIFA referees badge is the highest level of requirement needed by both FIFA and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) before a referee can be assigned for continental and world cup qualifiers refereeing duties.
An award of the FIFA referees badge also puts referees in a good stead to officiate at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations finals as well as the FIFA World Cup finals.
While congratulating officials who earned the FIFA badges, Botswana Football Association (BFA) said it is imperative that it helps those who failed to make the cut.
BFA Public Relations Officer (PRO) Tumo Mpatane said as such, the association will continue to conduct workshops to help improve the standard of referees in the country.
He said those who were not selected should work hard this year so that they stand a great chance to be selected for the 2020 FIFA panel.
Asked to clarify how the referees were selected, Mpatane had this to say; “BFA selected and submitted the names of the highest performing referees in the country, The list was then submitted to FIFA so that they compare all the referees experiences looking at matches they have ran and whether the achievements the referees have made will earn them a spot in the panel.”
He added that it was unfortunate that some of BFA referees did not advance in to the 2019 FIFA panel because the association ensured that they selected the best performing referees in the country. Mpatane noted that they held a coaching course last year to assist the referees to learn the latest trends and of modern football ahead of the FIFA Panel.
He revealed that to continue growing the talent and to help those who were dropped from the panel to cope with the new development, BFA has appointed Jonti Rasetshoga as the Referees Manager who is aided to train and polish the skills of the referees.