Forty Zambian referees have undergone a CAF/FIFA certified online course as part of the development process for whistle-men and women.
FAZ Referees Manager Aziph Banda says the program was for FIFA and other national selected referees that underwent the training from the comfort of their homes under the covid-19 regulations.
The five day training was conducted by top CAF/FIFA instructors namely Lim Kee Chong (Mauritius), Jerome Damon (SA), Bento Navesse (Mozambique) and Mohammed Mansour (Egypt).
Banda says the referees were drawn from across the country and were guided and trained on the new amendments of the laws of the game by FIFA.
Part of the training was pivoted on the importance of physical fitness and how to get back to training after a long period of rest due to covid-19.
The participants were subjected to a written test in order to gauge their understanding during the course.
Banda says that his department is grateful that the Andrew Kamanga presidency has prioritized referees development in their quest to take the game to the next level.
“We appreciate CAF /FIFA for according Zambian referees an opportunity to be trained even in the difficult period of covid-19,” he says.
“Appreciation goes to the President Mr Andrew Kamanga, GS Mr Adrian Kashala and the entire executive for the support they are giving to the department.”
Banda adds: “Our objective is to develop referees and possibly identify and start grooming young and upcoming Referees who should take over from the current crop of Referees.”
He has also appealed to other stakeholders to take interest in the amendments in the laws of the game.
“Team managers, coaches, administrators, sponsors and spectators should take interest to learn and understand the current amendments of the laws which can be complicated if not understood,” he says.
The Referees Manager also disclosed that FAZ had cleared all arrears for referees across the leagues as they seek to improve the management of the game in the country.
“FAZ does not owe referees officiating fees for the games they officiated from last year up to the time the games we halted due to covid-19. Payments to Referees were all cleared apart from the Provincial cup games which were halted due to the pandemic,” he says.
Referees development is one of the pillars that FAZ has placed highly in its development agenda.
Active referees are regularly appraised while a continuous development program exists that sees prospective referees recruited and developed from the districts.