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Sports

Straight red card

Gift Chicco, Bernadette Kwimbira, Mercy Kayira axed

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The National Football Referees Association (NRFA) has silently kicked out Fifa referees Gift Chicco, Bernadette Kwimbira and Mercy Kayira from the list of 30 referees that have been selected to handle Super League and Cup games effective July 1.

The trio is conspicuously missing from the list which NRFA released yesterday. Chicco and Kwimbira were at the centre of controversy in the Blantyre derby involving Mighty Be Forward Wanderers against Nyasa Big Bullets on May 1 at Kamuzu Stadium. The pair was accused of incompetent officiation.

Kayira was at the centre of controversy during the abandoned match between Karonga United against Silver Strikers in June at Karonga Stadium when she changed her decision three times following pressure from Karonga and Silver players.

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She first gave Karonga a penalty before rescinding her decision and then changed it again, which prompted alleged Karonga supporters to pelt objects on the pitch leading to the abandonment of the match.

NRFA General Secretary Chris Kalichero downplayed the missing of the three referees from the list which comprises match assessors, centre and assistant referees.

“We will be reviewing referees’ performances from time to time in order to enforce good performance amongst the referees. This will help us have good performances. Chicco, Mercy and Kwimbira are not the only ones missing out from that list. It was a shortlist which we made and they simply did not make it into the final list,” she said.

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The selected 30 referees will have a chance to attend refresher courses.

Referees have come under attack for bias and incompetent officiation, with some teams alleging that match-fixing and corruption was at play.

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