TOP netball umpire Chakatsa Lephole, has missed an opportunity to make his debut appearance in the annual Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) International Netball Series tournament.
This after it was revealed that only a few teams had entered the competition. Therefore, the organisers will now use umpires from the Caribbean region.
The event will take place from the 11 to 19 February 2022 in Roseau, Dominica.
Initially, Lephole was among the nine umpires that had been invited for the tournament.
However, the list was revised by the International Netball Federation (INF) which dropped Lephole and Michele Maynard of Australia. Although she is from the Caribbean region, Jamaica’s Tracy-Ann Griffiths was also dropped because of the reduced number of participants.
Had Lephole made it for the tournament, it would have been his first time officiating in the region. He would also have been the only African umpire at the tournament.
Lephole said the INF resolved to trim the list of umpires due to low participation.
“Some umpires, including myself, have been dropped from the list because of the reduced number of participants. The organisers have therefore decided to use umpires from the Caribbean region. I will have to wait for other engagements,” Lephole said.
The number of participants is yet to be disclosed.
But apart from the reduced number of participants, INF also considered the prevailing Covid-19 restrictions being imposed for travelers across the globe.
“It is not new really. There are several factors like minimising costs that can lead to such decisions. I was looking forward to the tournament and missing it is disappointing. It would have given me an opportunity to display my abilities.
“However, just the initial appointment was a huge achievement. It means that I am on the right track and more is still coming,” Lephole said.