LEFA hosts referee instructors course

LEFA hosts referee instructors course

MASERU – The Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) is hosting a week-long FIFA Referee Instructors Course at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena.
The seminar is part of the world governing body’s Futuro teaching programme for referees and it began on Monday with proceedings closing on Sunday.

It is the first-ever FIFA refereeing course to be held in Lesotho and the training is headed by FIFA’s Referee Development Officer for Africa, Jerome Damon, from South Africa.
Damon is one of Africa’s most respected match officials.
He was twice named South Africa’s referee of the year and also blew the whistle at the 2010 FIFA World Cup held in his home nation.
Since being appointed FIFA’s Referee Development Officer for Africa in April, Damon has headed several seminars around the continent with the focus on FIFA’s new and much publicised Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology for referees and June’s FIFA law changes.

This week’s course at Bambatha is a continuation of those efforts to educate Africa’s refs and the beneficiaries are Lesotho’s referee instructors and match assessors who oversee referees during the course of a season.
Damon called it vital for instructors to gain a greater understanding of how refereeing has changed over the past year.
The expectation, he added, is for participants to leave the course with a firmer grasp of the new refereeing landscape and, therefore, better equipped to do their jobs.

“It is an important occasion for you (referee instructors in attendance) as it for us (the) FIFA referees department; it is good to be in the Mountain Kingdom,” Damon said on Monday as he opened the FIFA course.
“This week is going to be important for us to combine our experiences and find solutions. Our job is to find solutions and this week we will find solutions together. (We will find) how best we can work together to improve refereeing in Lesotho because when refereeing in Lesotho improves, refereeing in Africa improves,” he said.

The course comes at a time when Lesotho match officials are showing signs of improvement despite low pay and frequent squabbles over pay.
In June, for example, referee Lebalang Mokete and assistant referee Lesupi Puputla were selected to officiate at the 2019 COSAFA Cup in South Africa.
At the head of the queue, however, is assistant referee Souru Phatšoane who officiated at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt in June to become the first Mosotho to take part in the continental showpiece.
Phatšoane is due to officiate at the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil from October 26 to November 17 where, again, he will make history.

The ultimate goal for all match officials, of course, is the FIFA World Cup and Phatšoane finds himself on track to potentially officiate at the 2022 edition in Qatar.
“I want to acknowledge the (LEFA) referees department. Now you have a World Cup candidate in the form of Souru Phatšoane who will represent the Mountain Kingdom at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil and hopefully, if he performs well, (at) Qatar 2022,” Damon said.
“Wouldn’t that be amazing? I will clap my hands if he gets there because when he gets there it means you have worked,” he continued.

“I am interested in lots of work and delivering. One of my first questions to (LEFA’s referees committee) yesterday was ‘what are you doing to ensure that Souru has the best opportunity to succeed?’ And that’s the question to all of you. What are you doing for the Souru’s of Lesotho to ensure that they have the best opportunity at a world stage? (That is) something to think about.”

Speaking to thepost, Damon said well-skilled referee instructors will make life easier for the men and women who run the game in the middle.
The timing of the FIFA course also couldn’t be much better. The 2019/20 Econet Premier League season begins on Saturday.
“What we expect is that (the instructors) would have come to the course with a certain amount of knowledge,” Damon said.
“By the end of the week they would have journeyed and hopefully gained more tools to help them do the job more effectively.”

Tlalane Phahla


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