A total of 50 grassroots soccer referees in Embu County have benefited from a free course organized by Football Kenya Federation (FKF), in a bid to improve the level of officiating matches as well as open up new opportunities for them.
The five-day training according to FKF Embu Branch Chair Charles Njagi was aimed at equipping them with key knowledge and skills to be able to referee matches safely and effectively.
Njagi who was speaking after issuing Class III Certificates to the participants at the Talent Academy Hall in Embu Town, said the training also sought to keep them abreast with the changing laws of the game as well as sharing the federation program with regard to various leagues.
“We are happy to release a pool of competent referees to go and officiate our matches and we believe the quality of refereeing will be improved and also go a long way in promoting growth of the game in the county,” the Chairman said.
He said the participants are expected to showcase their skills at all levels of competition including National Division 1 and 2 leagues as well as County and Sub- County leagues, noting that previously the level of officiating was wanting.
“Currently we have four teams in the county that are playing in the National Division 2 League,” the officer said, noting that it was an encouragement to upcoming players, coaches and other stakeholders.
Njagi also announced that plans are underway to ensure that they are taken through refresher courses after every three months to keep enriching them and bringing them up to speed with new rules and regulations.
One of the trainers, FIFA Physical Instructor Tabitha Wambui said regular training is needed to ensure they keep up with changing football laws.
She said some of the areas that FIFA was putting a lot of emphasis in was on offside laws as it seeks to have an effective tool to allow offside decisions made automatically to remove the possibility of human error.
Besides offside, the trainer said the participants were also taught on how to determine and handle fouls and cases of misconduct.
One of the beneficiaries, Josephine Wawira said she was motivated by the desire to end regular controversy that rocks many of the matches as a result of poor officiating.
“I came here to sharpen my skills and I believe I am leaving here a better match official,” Wawira said even as she challenged women to take up the career.
The youngest participant, 15-year-old Edwin Mutugi who has been practicing for five months said he plans to become a professional referee at the international stage in future.
By Samuel Waititu