sa refs in demand

Meshack Motloung

Meshack Motloung

Fifa has appointed two teams of South African soccer referees to officiate at the 2010 World Cup- Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers this weekend.

The first team, led by Cape Town school teacher Jerome Damon, will handle the Burundi- Tunisia game in Burundi on Sunday.

Enock Molefe will be the second assistant referee and Daniel Bennett will be the fourth official. The first assistant is from Rwanda.

Damons and Molefe are on the provisional panel of referees for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

The two will also officiate at the Beijing Olympics in August.

Molefe was running the line during the final of the Africa Cup of Nations between Cameroon and Egypt earlier this year, and Damons was the man in the middle when Ivory Coast and Ghana played for third and fourth place.

The second team of South African referees will will officiate in the Madagascar-Mozambique match, also on Sunday.

They will be led by Abdul Ebrahim, a former Premiership referee of the season.

The Capetonian will be assisted by Luyanda Somi and Anjith Yugesh, with Jonas Nhlapo as the fourth official.

Safa referees development officer Carlos Henriques said it was great for two teams of South African referees to officiate at different countries on the same weekend.

"It's not every country that gets the opportunity of sending two teams of referees to officiate at the same weekend. That's great, it shows that they've been performing well," said Henriques.

National Referees Committee chairman Kirsten Nematandani was over the moon when he received the news.

"We're really delighted about the appointments of our officials by Fifa and it shows that they are committed, dedicated and also capable," Nematandani said.

"But we're not going to sit back and fold our arms, we're going to work hard to improve refereeing in South Africa.

"We hope and believe that our officials remain focus on their duties ahead and also humble. We're very much proud of their achievements."

World-acclaimed referee Ace Ncobo has just returned from Gambia where he officiated in the game between the hosts and Ivory Coast. He was assisted by Lazarus Matela and Toko Malebo, with Matthews Daya being the fourth official.