Lesotho refs dismally fail Fifa tests

MASERU — Fifa instructors in the country for a refereeing workshop are disappointed after half of the local match officials who turned up for the seminar failed a mandatory fitness test.

Four of the 40 match officials who came for the workshop at Bambatha Tsita on Monday were disqualified because of high blood pressure, but of the rest only 18 passed a fitness test.

Fifa refereeing instructor Felix Tangawarima said they were not happy with the fitness levels of the local match officials.

“We were not entirely happy with the current referees’ fitness because the standard has deteriorated as compared to last year,” he said.

“We were very much impressed with their standard of fitness last year.”

Tangawarima said Fifa required all match officials to pass a fitness test first before they could take part in any of the refereeing clinics held by the world football body.

Those who failed the fitness test on Monday were sent home.

The workshop ends tomorrow.

“Fifa requirements are very clear and one of these is for a referee to be fit to officiate a match without any problems,” he said.

Tangawarima said they had told the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) they were not happy with the local referees’ lack of fitness.

“We’ve told Lefa we are not entirely happy because out of 40 referees, less than 20 passed,” he said.

Fifa development officer Carlos Henriqves echoed Tangawarima’s sentiments.

“We are always looking for results and improvements but today you went backwards,” Henriqves told the referees.

“The results are going down and that means something is wrong.”

“You must understand that we are being hard on you because we want you to be the best referees,” he added.

Meanwhile, Henriqves has called on Lefa to ensure that referees are protected when officiating matches.

The game in Lesotho has been marred over the years by attacks on match officials.

“We can’t allow teams manhandling referees just because they are not satisfied with the outcomes of the game,” Henriqves said.

“I ask you . . . to ensure that referees are protected no matter the results of the game or people’s interpretation of the referees’ decisions.

One of Lesotho’s top match officials, Paul Phomane, quit the domestic game after he was attacked during a league match last year.

“We do not want to lose our referees just because they are being assaulted during or after the game,” Henriqves said.

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