The Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) Referee’s Manager Felix Tangawarima said the ongoing COSAFA Cup in South Africa has been one of the best officiated tournaments.
Speaking exclusively to Nampa, Tangawarima, who is also a member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Referees Committee, and an International Federation of Football Association (FIFA) technical instructor responsible for development of referees in Africa, said the men in the middle have been exemplary.
“In this year’s edition of the COSAFA Cup, we have witnessed a higher level of refereeing as we continue to raise the bar. I am quite pleased with the quality of the officiating this year”, he said.
Tangawarima added that the selected panel for this COSAFA consists of very young and upcoming referees and some who graduated from their junior programme.
“One of COSAFA’s strong objectives is development. As a region, we are very proud that the long-term referee development programme has been yielding very positive results year in (and) year out.”
The decorated former Zimbabwean top referee said most of the referees officiating in top CAF and FIFA games are the products of their development programme.
He added that their referee development plan caters for all the levels of referees, starting with the young talents (both men and women) they invite to the Under-17 COSAFA tournament.
“At this level, we use referees who are not yet listed on the FIFA international panel. We also have the Under-20 tournaments for both men and women and as the referees committee, we take advantage of these tournaments to develop the referees from the most junior until the time they become most senior.”
The U-17 and U-20 tournaments are the supply-line to the senior tournament. Tangawarima paid tribute to the COSAFA executive for their support, saying the region can celebrate having one referee and two assistant referees who are representing them in the FIFA World Cup in Russia starting 14 June.
“Later this year, CAF is sending six referees to France for the FIFA U-20 World Cup with four of those coming from the COSAFA region”, he added.
By Maqonda Ndlovu