All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa
TAMALE - Top South African match officials Jerome Damon and Enock Molefe are using the Africa Cup of Nations to enhance their chances of being appointed to the panel for the historic 2010 World Cup.
Damon, a referee, and assistant referee Molefe are in Ghana after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) appointed them among the 32 match officials - 16 referees and 16 assistant referees - for the tournament.
Both men are teachers by profession.
Damon, who is based in Cape Town, was in the middle when Mali beat Benin 1-0 in their opening match of the tournament on Monday night where Frederic Kanoute scored from the penalty spot. Molefe was one of the two assistant referees in that match.
"We are delighted to be here in Ghana. We will continue working hard to be among the top 10 match referees to be selected by Fifa for the workshops in Europe later this year," said Molefe.
"The top five referees of the tournament will be going to Spain on February 10 for their workshop. We [the assistant referees] usually have ours in April.
"The Afcon is a great platform for Jerome and I to show the world that South Africa has talented match officials too.
"We know that the workshops form part of the preparations by Fifa for the World Cup. Fifa started in 2004 to prepare for the Germany World Cup where Africa was allocated three slots.
"The good news is that Africa will have four slots in 2010 in case one of the officials withdraws for whatever reason."
Damon said: "I agree with Molefe that Ghana is offering us a great platform to impress if we are serious about being part of the 2010 World Cup referees panel. It will be great for us to be in the final here in Ghana after handling the semifinal in Egypt in 2006."
It is Damon's third consecutive Afcon after Tunisia 2004 and Egypt 2006. It is Molefe's third successive tournament. They have officiated at the finals of the World Under-17 Championships and the World Youth Championships.