Football Association of Malawi-FAM says is excited with the outcome of a physical fitness test it conducted for the 2021 FIFA International Referees Panel Listing.
Thirty-Five-35 referees from all the regions of Malawi gathered at the Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe on Saturday, to run for 15 FIFA posts.
Earlier on, FAM had indicated they expected 36 referees to turn up for the occasion but the number may be affected by Easter Kalikokha Zimba who has been found Covid-19 positive, after tests preparing for this function were conducted over the week, making him not eligible to participate.
Nevertheless, it has proved to be a great event after seeing 33 referees passing the test to the amazement of FAM Referees Development Officer Maxwell Mtonga who said it has gone beyond expectation, considering that the football season was on suspension for 7 months due to Covid-19.
“The fitness test has gone very well. It is close to 98 percent pass; all the referees have performed very well. This is very good. They have done it out of nothing. They were not training, there was a ban, but they emerged victors. We appreciate so much.” Mtonga said.
Mtonga continued to say that FAM will now have to choose 15 best referees from the 33 that have passed to send as nomination to FIFA.
“We will take 15 out of the number, and the rest will continue to officiate Super League games (in Malawi).”
FAM Executive Member who is also Chairperson for the Referees Sub-committee Rashid Ntelera present at the event was also delighted to see such a turn-up and performance which he said lived to their billing.
“It was good as we expected. The turn up was like how we thought it would be. Ofcourse we had one or two people who could not make it, but we still have time because these things (FIFA International Referees Panel Listing) are recurrent.” Ntelera said.
The two that have failed the test are female referee Agness Chimaele and male referee Lameck Manda.
Meanwhile, the list of 15 referees selected for the 2021 FIFA International Referees Panel List is expected to be released by November 9, 2020.
Another fitness test awaiting is that to do with the Malawi football season and according to Maxwell Mtonga, FAM will from early next month, conduct the tests for all the referees in the country in readiness for the 2020-21 football season to commence on November 20.
“On the 8th of November there will be a fitness test in Blantyre, on 14th November another one here at Bingu National Stadium, and on the 15th, in Mzuzu.” Mtonga said.