By Mabvuto Kambuwe:
Five local referees have received Fifa badges, replacing five others who have been omitted on the list.
Up-and-coming referee Gift Chicco has made the grade alongside Godfrey Nkhakananga, replacing Patrick Ngoleka and Dennis Ngulube, who have been left out.
Chicco and Nkhakananga have joined Alfred Chilinda and Ishamael Chizinga as Malawi’s centre Fifa referees. Malawi is allocated four slots for centre referees.
Ngoleka is now a match commissioner whereas Duncan Lengani is a match assessor.
In a related development, Joseph Nyauti and Ibrahim Mafuleka have made it into the list of Fifa assistant referees whereas Hendrix Maseko and Festone Kusekuse have been omitted.
The country has six assistant Fifa referees Edward Kambatuwa, Clemence Kanduku, Innocent Kaundula, Jonazio Luwizi, Nyauti and Mafuleka.
Malawi also has two slots for female centre referees, with Rose Zimba replacing Mercy Mziya who has been omitted.
Agness Chamayere is the country’s other Fifa female referee whereas Happiness Mbandambanda and Benardeta Kwimbira have maintained their positions as Fifa assistant referees.
The development means the five referees qualify to officiate international games for the entire year.
National Referees Association General Secretary, Chris Kalichero, confirmed the development, advanced to the next round of the qualifiers after beating Botswana 3-2 on aggregate.
The junior Flames beat the young Zebras 2-1 in Gaborone before managing a 1-1 draw at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre in the return match.
Flames Coach, Ronny van Geneugden, also told Malawi Broadcasting Corporation that the team would regroup on January 21.
“We are going to use these games to build a very strong future Flames. So, good preparations are very important. We will start on January 21 with physical training sessions,” Geneugden said.
However, Football Association of Malawi General Secretary, Alfred Gunda, was not available to comment on the matter Wednesday.
The association’s president, Walter Nyamilandu, is on record to have indicated that the team would go outside the country for camping ahead of the qualifiers.
“This is an entirely new team and we need to prepare thoroughly if we are to realise our dream of qualifying for the Olympics. Of course, Zambia is a good side but, with good preparations, including friendl lives, we can go all the way,” Nyamilandu is quoted as saying.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues