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Top referee to officiate at AFCON

Moorosi Tsiane

TOP local referee, Souru Phatšoane, will fly the country’s flag high at next month’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament in Cameroon.

This will be Phatšoane’s second time at AFCON as he made his refereeing debut at the 2019 competition in Egypt. Phatšoane is also the local referee to officiate at the Olympics. He officiated at the Tokyo Olympics held earlier this year.

Phatšoane also officiated at the COSAFA Cup final in 2018.

He has been part of the refereeing panel at the regional competition since 2014. Before that, he refereed at the under-20 tournament in 2011 and 2012.

He also officiated at the CAF under-17 tournament in 2015 in Niger, the Under-17 tournament in Gabon in 2017 and the Africa Nations Championship in 2018.

Last month, he joined other referees at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for the Africa Cup of Nations Preparatory Course in Egypt. The course was for all the referees who have been selected to officiated at Africa’s premier football tournament.

Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) Referees coordinator, Mohau Sentšo, showered praises on Phatšoane, saying he hoped that the latter’s achievements would motivate other referees in the country to work extremely hard to emulate him.

“He has made great strides and we are proud of him. His achievements mean a lot to us as an association as well as the nation at large.

“We hope this motivates the other referees to keep working hard, since they can see that this is achievable,” said Sentšo.

He said they had launched two programmes aimed at grooming young referees who would go on to officiate in international matches.

“We are currently working with young referees under two programmes. We want to groom them so that they are ready for international events. We have the Young Talent for 20- to 25-year-olds. We also have the Catch them Young programme targeting those in the 17-19 age bracket.

“Having more local referees on the international scene will be a clear indication that we are doing well in terms of officiating,” he said.

He said 11 referees had made it to the FIFA panel for 2022.

“We have 11 referees which have been selected into FIFA panel for next year. There are seven males and four female referees.

“Osias Koto, Retšelisitsoe Molise and Lebalang Mokete are central referees along with Phatšoane. Siza Dlangamandla and Lesupi Puputla are the assistant referees in the male category. In the female category, Mathabo Kolokotoane and Nteboheleng Setoko are the central referees while Puleng Mahomo and Polotso Maapara are assistant referees,” said Sentšo.

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