Southern Times Writer
Tshwane – Retired Zimbabwean soccer referee Felix Tangawarima – who at the height of his career was rated among Africa’s finest football officials – is passing on the skills he acquired over the years to the next generation.
Tangawarima, who many say is the best referee ever to come out of Zimbabwe, will facilitate elite referees and technical referees instructors’ courses that will be conducted by the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) in Bulawayo from November 19 to 27, 2021.
The courses, conducted in partnership with world football governing body Fifa, are expected to enhance the performance of current Zimbabwean referees with the aim of achieving the standards that could see them feature in continental or global competitions more prominently.
A total of 30 elite referees and 30 referees instructors have been invited to take part in the courses.
Under Tangawarima’s watchful eye, instructors will be introduced to modern teaching skills while the referees will be taken through high level theory lessons, integrated practical sessions as well as a physical fitness tests.
Zifa believes the courses are an important part of their broader initiative to improve the standards of refereeing in Zimbabwe.
“These courses come at the most appropriate for Zimbabwean football as resumption of competitions is peaking, after close to a 20-month break due to series of COVID-19 lockdowns,” Zifa communications and competitions manager Xolisani Gwesela said.
“Zifa strongly believes that the continuous investment in referees’ development is key to raising the refereeing standards in Zimbabwe. Already, we have seen more of our referees and match assessors and commissioners getting more international assignments.
“We are in the right trajectory and soon we will have our officials officiating at major tournaments like the Africa Cup of Nations and the Fifa World Cup.”
Tangwarima, who is now a Fifa instructor, retired from refereeing in 2003 at the age of 45.
In terms of experience, he has seen it all and his ability to authoritatively handle heated and tightly contested matches saw him making a name for himself among the most accomplished referees in Africa.
He was the man in the middle of the Afro-Asian Nations Cup first leg match between South Africa and Saudi Arabia on 18 September. His impeccable performance during the group stages of the 2000 African Nations Cup saw him being selected to handle a crunch quarter final match that saw Nigeria defeating Senegal by a 2–1 margin on February 7, 2000.
During the 2002 World Cup qualifiers for Africa, Tangawarima once again underlined his status as one of the best referees on the continent by being entrusted to handle seven of those matches.
The 2006 World Cup qualifier that saw Uganda defeating Mauritius 3–0 on October 11, 2003 was among the last of the international matches handled by Tangawarima as the curtain came down on a glittering career.