Gaborone — The Botswana Football Association (BFA) is reportedly on a mission to unearth youthful talent in refereeing.
BFA's Refereeing Manager, Jonty Rasetsoga told BOPA in an interview that this was due to the fact that fast growing professional international refereeing demanded fresh youthful minds, to deal with modern technologies.
Rasetsoga said the likes of Joshua Bondo, who has been instrumental locally and continentally, were aging, further noting the importance of grooming young referees from as low as primary school.
He noted that since they started tracking down youth from schools, they realised there was a lot of talent in Botswana.
He said unlike before, when they used to enroll everyone with no qualifications, there would be a minimum requirement of junior certificate, due to technologies used in modern football.
He noted that football refereeing demanded individuals who are fast to spot mistakes, more especially in the penalty box, thus demanding youthful fresh legs and minds.
Rasetsoga noted that after training referees, they started taking part in school refereeing until promotion to officiate at regional level then the premier league level.
He was confident that the model they were using to train young referees would bear fruit for Botswana football, as well as increase the quota given to Botswana in international refereeing
He noted that professional refereeing was considered important, more especially during international games, further stating that Video Assistant Referee (VAR) and other technologies, used in international games were slowly coming to African competitions.
Rasetsoga thus encouraged Botswana youth to familirise themselves with modern technologies to learn refereeing, which he said could become a full source of income and lifetime employment.
He further said their collaboration with other stakeholders such as schools and Ministry of Basic Education would surely bear fruit.
He said the collaboration would be the key to sustainable refereeing growth in Botswana, as shortage of referees had led to some, especially first division, matches not having a referee.
The Botswana referees panel includes Joshua Bondo, Tshepho Gobagoba, Keabetswe Dintwa and Tirelo Mositwane; assistant referees Mogomotsi Morakile, Lucky Kegakologetswe, Tilolo Molefe, Ookeditse Keitseope and Kitso Sibanda, while women referees include Itumeleng Methikga and Tshephe as well as Botsalo Mosimanewatlala as woman assistant referee.
Source : BOPA