A trio of match officials from Southern Africa will represent COSAFA at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, a sign of the growing respect for referees and their assistants in the region.
Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe will blow the whistle, along with his team of South Africa’s Zakhele Siwela and Jerson dos Santos from Angola, who will run the lines.
The trio were named by FIFA on Thursday as part of the 36 referees and 63 assistant referees for the tournament in Russia after long and vigorous assessment.
World football’s governing body said the final selection was based on each referee’s skills and personality, as well as his level of understanding of football and ability to read both the game and the various tactics employed by teams.
Sikazwe had been identified by FIFA as a candidate for the World Cup some years ago and has been given assignments at the Club World Cup and FIFA Under-20 World Cup to help him prepare.
He has extensive experience on the African continent, including blowing the 2016 COSAFA Cup final and the decider in the 2017 African Nations Cup.