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No Malawian ref for 2017 Afcon

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In a vote of no confidence, Malawian referees have, once again, been left out of the 38-member officiating panel selected for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Gabon next month.

Confederation of African Football (Caf) Referee Manager, Eddy Maillet, has released the list of the selected referees and assistant referees ahead of the finals to run from January 14 to February 5 2017.

“Your federation will particularly ensure the preparation of a referee who has recently been identified, so that you arrive at the tournament in perfect physical condition,” Maillet wrote on November 30 2016.

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Football Association of Malawi Referees’ Development Officer, Maxwell Mtonga, Thursday said although he had not seen the list, he was not surprised with the exclusion of Malawians.

“I am not surprised because people who go to Afcon are from the Fifa elite A and B. It has been a long time since we had male referees on the panel,” Mtonga said.

“Dennis Ngulube was the last Malawian referee on the elite B panel, but this year he has not been called. For one to be selected, you have to excel in your performance.”

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Before Ngulube’s inclusion on the elite list, Antony Rafael was on the elite A list but he has since faded from the refereeing scene.

In contrast, main referees from Zambia (Janny Sikazwe), South Africa (Daniel Bennnet), Joshua Bondo (Botswana), Hamada el Moussa Nampiandraza (Madagascar) have made the list.

The list of assistant referees also comprises referees from Southern African countries.

Mozambique has contributed to the list Arsénio Marengula, Zakhele Siwela is from South Africa whereas Angola is being represented by Jerson Dos Santos.

Bernadettar Kwimbira- Nzika, who is on the officiating panel for the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations finals underway in Cameroon, is the only Malawian on the elite A list for women.

Commenting on the absence of Malawian male referees on the elite panel, Malawi referee great, Bester Kalombo, two weeks ago attributed this to a dysfunctional recruitment catchment area.

“We must develop a policy where those inspiring to be referees should move step-by-step before they are handed big games,” Kalombo told The Daily Times.

“Their qualification must also be scrutinised. A well-educated referee is able to make sound decisions on the pitch because he understands the rules well than a less educated one who will need them translated into their local languages, and that even makes it worse to translate the rules.”

National Referees Association General Secretary, Chris Kalichero, insisted that they have qualified and educated referees such as Duncan Lengani.

However, Kalichero admitted that a Junior Certificate of Education is the current entry academic qualification to the refereeing career.

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