Referees and assistant referees are just as important to a football tournament as the players and the coaching staffs are.
To keep abreast with changes in world football refereeing a total of 25 referees were involved in the four-day FIFA MA Referee course, which was facilitated by OFC’s FIFA referee development officer Kevin Stoltenkamp and FIFA/OFC Fitness instructors Greg Gallop.
The participants hailed from a range of PNGFA member associations, namely Morobe Football Association, Port Moresby Soccer Association, Madang Soccer Association, Popondetta, Wau and Wabag.
Stoltenkamp said the objective of the course was to improve each referee’s knowledge of the laws of the game, their skills in player management, fitness and mental discipline.
“Refereeing evolves, and to remain a referee you need to know football and understand the game.”
Participants spent the four-days covering both practical and theoretical sessions as well as fitness training.
The course is particularly important due to the introduction of a number of new Laws of the Game this year”, said Stoltenkamp.
He said the constant evolution of football and the role of the referee in that is why constant courses and efforts to improve themselves are so important.
Stoltenkamp added that it was encouraging to see the willingness and eagerness from the referees to learn.
PNG Football Association Senior Vice President John Wesley Gonjuan says hosting the course every year is vital to ensuring PNG continues to produce match officials who can go on to be involved in tournaments around the Oceania region.
“We know match officials play a very important role in any tournament or match, and these local officials are here for the purpose of upgrading their skills and knowledge to achieve better performances on the field,” Gonjuan says.
“We have this course every year so that referees can continue to improve, so I hope they make the best of the time here and leave feeling like they have achieved something.”