Top referees off to COSAFA

Top referees off to COSAFA

MASERU – Two Lesotho match officials, referee Lebalang Mokete and assistant referee Lesupi Puputla, will jet off to Durban, South Africa on Sunday where they will officiate at this year’s COSAFA Cup.

The regional showpiece begins next Saturday with the group stage.
It is not the first time local match officials have been invited to the COSAFA Cup and, speaking on behalf of the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) Referees’ Committee, Maponyane Letsie said the country’s constant participation at international tournaments proves the growth and improvement of local match officials.

Letsie said although referees have a difficult job here at home where fans mistrust them, their invitations to regional events show they perform well whenever they are called up.
Letsie added that this is the first time Lesotho has been asked to send two match officials to the COSAFA Cup.

“For us it is good that we constantly have officials going out to officiate at these tournaments because it shows that there is improvement and growth in our referees,” Letsie said on Tuesday.
“Here at home they do get criticism from people saying they are biased but they get invited to these tournaments which shows they do well at these tournaments and we are happy. We always have an official going to the COSAFA Cup but this year we have two and we want to keep this standard,” he continued.

Mokete and Puputla were in charge of last Saturday’s high-stakes Econet Premier League clash between Lioli and Bantu and both have been prominently involved in different local competitions.
Mokete is one of the country’s most respected referees and is often in charge of high-profile games and domestic cup finals. He is known for his level-headed personality and calm approach in big games.

Both officials have been training hard with local assistant referee Souru Phatšoane who last week returned from a CAF 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) preparation course in Rabat, Morocco.
Phatšoane was among 56 of the continent’s top match officials who underwent the course at the beginning of the month.

The selected match officials went through medical and physical tests and took theoretical and practical courses under the supervision of CAF lecturers and experts.
The objective of the course was to determine a final list of referees to officiate at the AFCON finals in Egypt in July.

Letsie revealed Phatšoane passed his tests in Morocco and LEFA is now waiting to find out from CAF if Phatšoane will be selected to officiate at the 2019 AFCON.
Letsie said he hopes Mokete and Puputla follow in Phatšoane’s footsteps.
“We want to always have representatives at international tournaments, it is our hope that they can follow in Phatšoane’s footsteps,” he told thepost.

“You see where Phatšoane is now. He also started in these COSAFA games, now look at him. We want to have more people like him. (Mokete and Puputla) have been working out with him. He is giving them tips because he underwent the CAF training course so he knows the new ways of running; he has been showing them what to do,” Letsie explained.
Likuena will also join Mokete and Puputla at the 2019 COSAFA Cup.
Lesotho will start its campaign at the quarterfinal stage against Uganda on June 1.

Tlalane Phahla


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