The South Sudan Football Association (SSFA) has launched the training of 35 referees from the local football associations in the country.

The training funded by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) was officially opened on Saturday at the South Sudan Hotel. It will feature right referees officiating at international level and 27 officiating at national level in the local federations.

SSFA President Francis Amin promised the administration of the local football federation that SSFA shall improve the capacity of football in the country.

“We will exert efforts to build the capacity of football cadres at all levels in South Sudan. We shall continue to lobby for more opportunities from CECAFA, CAF and FIFA,” Amin promised.

The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Dr. Nadia Arop applauded the country’s football governing body for soliciting for training opportunities for personnel in the sport arena.

While briefing the trainees Dr. Arop said “I appreciated the role being played by the current leadership of SSFA especially in building the capacities of the South Sudan Referees.”

“You referees should uphold the skills given to you. Double your efforts to progress to the international level like your other colleagues,” she added.

Meanwhile, Chikwudi Chukwujekwu, the CAF Instructor expressed his willingness to support in development of the capacities of South Sudan Referees such that, they can qualify for the international level. He urged them to work hard with commitment, dedication and sacrifice of their time for better improvement and recognition.

The training session will go for four (4) days. CAF initially offered to train one referee and a coach. However the demand has been more in the area of officiating. The referees in the country have been criticized every now and then for making avoidable mistakes that have led to the alteration in major league results.

Fair officiating of football matches is always a problem to referees in South Sudan. Sports analysts have been criticizing the referees every now and then. This training will enable South Sudan to up her refereeing a little bit.

“I think for me it’s the biggest thing that’s keeping our football a little bit behind because the quality and talent is there. The referees all over South Sudan kill good games of football with their careless unprofessional decisions”.

Coach Bilal Felix of Kator FC and many of the coaches in the Juba Konyo-konyo premier league said, “I’ve not been happy with the referees because of their decision-making,” he complained during his team’s defeat to Salam Wau FC in the finals of the South Sudan Champions league in Wau in December last year.

“When you score a legitimate goal and then it gets disallowed without even giving the coach an explanation on why (leaves a bitter taste). When you watch European football referees give the coach an explanation because they’ve got the right to know why goals were disallowed. “And here it’s ‘our way or the highway’,” South African International coach Benny McCarthy had complained earlier this year.

Admittedly, local referees haven’t covered themselves in glory so far. Almost every game that has been played has been littered with mistakes from the officials. Yes, mistakes happen here and there but mistakes shouldn’t be the only consistent thing referees have given us.

via JM