Malawian referees miss out on Chan tournament


Malawian referees have missed this year’s African Nations Championship (Chan) finals in Cameroon as they are ineligible.

Only referees with Fifa elite A and B qualifications are eligible for the continental competition which features teams with home-based players.

Female assistant referee, Bernadetter Kwimbira Nzika, is the only Malawian in the Fifa elite A category and has officiated games at big international competitions.


The referees’ list, which Confederation of African Football (Caf) has released in readiness for the tournament, does not have any name from Malawi.

The list has 20 referees, 19 assistant referees, two physical instructors and five technical instructors.

The match officials will undergo a refresher course in preparation for this year’s Chan tournament.


Cameroon is set to host the tournament from April 4 to 25.

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) Referees Development Officer, Maxwell Mtonga, says local referees need to work hard if they are to join the best on the continent.

Mtonga said the local referees have also been disadvantaged because of the number of referees picked for the tournament which is directly linked to how many elite A and B referees appear in Caf’s database.

“We do not have male referees in elite A and B categories but I am hopeful that the new group we are grooming will eventually make the grade one day,” Mtonga said.

National Referees Association General Secretary, Chris Kalichero, said it was unfortunate that Malawian referees had been left out.

Kalichero said local referees should aim at officiating at Chan and Africa Cup of Nations finals if they are to make it big in their respective careers.

“We are happy that our referees were considered for Cosafa competitions in 2019 but we need to do better. Our target should always be big continental and global tournaments,” Kalichero said.

But Fifa referee, Ishmael Chizinga, said he remains confident that Malawian referees are capable of making the grade if they continued working hard.

Chizinga said the country has a good crop of referees who perform when given a chance to officiate games in competitions such as Caf Champions League and Confederation Cup.

“We need to continue working hard so that we break into the elite category. I am sure that the current performance of Malawi referees at international level is good enough to earn them higher grades. I have no doubt that one day, one of us will represent Malawi at a big Caf tournament,” Chizinga said.

Other countries such as Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania and Botswana have also failed to send referees to the competition.

The last time Malawi sent a referee to the Chan event was in 2006 when Moffat Champiti officiated several games in Ivory Coast.

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