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Fam faulted for lack of refs’ refresher courses

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National Referees Association (NRA) has bemoaned that the continued lack of refresher courses for its personnel might be compromising their performance.

NRA General Secretary, Chris Kalichero, said this in the wake of heavy criticism on referees.

Fifa Grade One referee, Patrick Ngoleka, is under fire from Nyasa Big Bullets for allegedly denying them two would-be goals for offside in a league game that ended goalless against Be Forward Wanderers in Lilongwe on Saturday.

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Kalichero Wednesday said his body submitted a budget to Football Association of Malawi (Fam) for refresher courses that were scheduled before the start of the season.

“In every job, we need capacity building but we do not have funds. We are waiting for funding from Fam because we already submitted our budget to them,” Kalichero said.

The last national refresher course for the referees took place in Salima District in 2016, according to NRA.

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However, Malawi referees are still considered for international assignments.

Ngoleka, Innocent Kaundula, Hendrix Maseko, Alfred Chilinda, Dennis Ngulube and Easter Zimba have been officiating Confederation of African Football (Caf) Champions League and Confederations Cup games.

Central Region Referees Association General Secretary, Duncan Lengani, shared Kalichero’s observation on the lack of the refresher courses.

“It is now two years without refresher courses so that we should remind each other on technical aspects of refereeing. We have only organised courses for beginners. Due to lack of funds, we cannot build capacity for top referees in the region,” Lengani said in a recent interview.

Fam Refereeing Development Officer, Maxwell Mtonga, refused to comment on the matter.

The association shoulders the main responsibility of building capacity for referees at all levels as it receives funding from Fifa for such initiatives.

Referees, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that lack of refresher courses was affecting their performance as the Laws of the Game are revised every year.

Malawi’s refereeing great, Bester Kalombo, Wednesday said it was not entirely correct that local referees have not been attending refresher courses, saying Fifa runs a session every year locally but such training is restricted to 30 whistlemen and women on the elite panel.

“Even in Blantyre, there was a day-long refresher course for the referees sponsored by the referees themselves, but the question is ‘what about those in Zomba and the rest of the country?

“The Fifa refresher course has limited intake and it is the responsibility of Sulom [Super League of Malawi] and Fam to sponsor such sessions. People need to be trained properly. If players go for off-season training why not referees? People forget and they need to be reminded about the Laws of the Game,” the former Caf refereeing manager said.

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