Phats’oane off to Madagascar

Phats’oane off to Madagascar

MASERU – Lesotho’s experienced FIFA assistant referee, Souru Phatšoane, has left the country to take charge of this weekend’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier between Madagascar and Senegal. The crucial Group A encounter will be played in Antananarivo, Madagascar, on Sunday and is another feather in Phatšoane’s cap.
Phatšoane is the country’s only FIFA and CAF rated assistant referee and according to Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) referees instructor, Maponyane Letsie, that is why Phatšoane is hardly on duty for local premier league games.

“Phatšoane is leaving to take charge of the AFCON qualifier between Madagascar and Senegal this weekend; he has been selected as one of the officials,” Letsie said.
“He is our highest ranking assistant referee and he is hardly working in the premier league.
“He is always out of the country working at these international tournaments.”
Letsie praised Phatšoane and said others can follow his lead.

Promisingly, there are a growing number of young match officials coming through the ranks and Phatšoane won’t be the only local referee representing the country internationally over the coming weeks.

‘Mathabo Kolokotoane and Polotso Maapara have been selected as part of the officiating crew for the upcoming 2018 COSAFA Women’s Championship to be held in South Africa from September 12 to 22.

Letsie said Kolokotoane and Maapara’s appointment shows other Lesotho match officials can reach Phatšoane’s level but he warned it takes hard work and commitment.
“I think anyone can get there (to Phatšoane’s level),” Letsie said.

“We had a referee at the COSAFA Under-17 finals in Mauritius not so long ago and we also have two going to the COSAFA Women’s Championship but it takes commitment from an individual because (referees) have to go to (CAF) training programmes and when they get there they are not assessed by us.
“There are other people there who will select the officials, we can only do so much,” he said.

Meanwhile, the LEFA Referees Committee held its annual referees fitness test ahead of the new league season last weekend and only one premier league referee, Moeketsi Ntoa, failed.
It means Ntoa will not be involved in Econet Premier League matches until January and will be demoted to lower divisions.
Referees that failed, however, could get a second chance to do the test before January but redoing the exam will come at their own
expense.

Luciah Phahla

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