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More refs complete basic training

The exam on Saturday wraps up an exciting week of training for the participants who explored the FIFA Laws of the Game with the guidance of local referee instructors. Theory sessions were held from Monday to Thursday and a practical session on communication and flagging signals for assistant referees ensued on Friday. The flagging session was conducted by Matthew Taro who attended the FIFA World Cup finals in 2010.
It was another successful week for the SIFF referee development office who trained 30 referees in the previous week, thus, to address the acute shortage of referees experienced in Honiara. With the completion of the second training program, there are now 52 additional referees ready to officiate in locally organised competitions.
SIFF referee development officer, Justin Mutukera, says that he thanks the participants and the instructors for coming together to support the growth of football and the successful end of the course is a testament to the commitment on both sides.
“Thank you to all the participants who showed great enthusiasm throughout the week in learning the laws of the game. You have set yourself an important foundation for your personal careers as referees and I encourage you all to make use of your new found knowledge to help develop football. I also want to thank the instructors who freely gave up their time to assist in the delivery of training to the participants,” Mutukera says.
Similar sentiments were expressed by SIFF executive member and incumbent chairperson of the SIFF referees standing committee, Aloysio Ma’ahanoa, who called upon the new referees to strive for excellence in their practice.
“The path to the world stage begins with your achievement today and I want you all to excel as football referees. Wonderful examples have been set by our pioneers and I see no reason as to why you who graduated today cannot reach the heights of FIFA competitions which you aspire for. The key to success is commitment to excellence and this should be your day to day goal as a referee,” Ma’ahanoa says.
One of the participants, Hugo Sogakolo, who travelled all the way from Rannonga in the Western Province, says that the course has given him a better understanding of the role of referees and he has found new motivation in pursuing a career as a referee.
“The course has taught me that referees perform an important role in the development of football and I am motivated to take up a more serious approach. I also understand that refereeing requires high mental skill and this makes it exciting and more interesting for me,” Sogakolo says.
There are a few hurdles that remain before the referees can actually take the pitch. The main one according to Mutukera is fitness and the new referees need to attend training sessions regularly to ensure that they meet the minimum requirements before they actually take the pitch as match officials.
“Our instructors have to be satisfied with the performance of referees before we allow them to officiate in sanctioned competitions. Regular fitness exercises and other practical training are part of our tri-weekly sessions at Lawson Tama and all the new referees are invited to take part in them,” Mutukera says.
The second basic refereeing course completes the programs intended for Honiara. Several provinces including Isabel and Choiseul are planning similar courses but they are yet to be confirmed. A FIFA elite refereeing course is on the cards for this year and it will be held in Honiara in October. This course will be conducted by the FIFA Referee Assistance Program team for Oceania led by Massimo Raveino and Neil Poloso.

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