We exchanged our referees – Rugby Africa launched a new project, after a first pilot phase last year : an exchange of referees. The idea was introduced by the Executive Committee and followed through by executive member Khaled Babbou (Tunisia) and training manager Adama Bakhoum (Senegal). This project aims at selecting the best refs in several countries (Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal and Ivory Coast) and make them whistle for the finals or semi-finals of the national championships of the above mentioned countries.
The host union takes care of the accommodation of the referee, while plane tickets are paid for. A promising program giving an opportunity to young talents to improve and discover the continent.
Travelling is not nevertheless the first goal ; the purpose of this initiative being to help the sector of refereeing by giving to the best of them the possibility of progressing in another environment. For now, the project is dedicated only to young people aged 25 or less.
In keeping with the project “I also play referee”, this idea aims at raising interest in refereeing among rugby passionate. Indeed if all players can’t reach international levels other avenues are left to be explored and some could become excellent referees.
Eventually, the objective is to grow referees within our African federations who will reach a sufficient level to whistle for the Africa Cup 1A.
It is also a very welcome opportunity for the unions truly benefiting from this program. A neutral referee will reduce the pressure during big matches and neutrality always helps the referee to assert his authority and gain respect on the field.
Finally it is a question of assessing the referees who will be filmed in every match. The video will be sent to their union but also to experts as Hervé Dubès, referee and then TMO for several years within the FFR (French Federation of Rugby), real connoisseur of the African rugby who can advise and guide them.