THE football fraternity is mourning the passing of former referee and referees’ coordinator Paul Phomane who was tragically gunned down by robbers at his business (Car wash & a shop) at Ha Thetsane last week.
According to the police, robbers stormed his business, demanded cash and shot him before fleeing from the scene.
No arrests have been made yet as police continue with their investigation.
Former colleague, Mohau Sentšo, who since January this year replaced Phomane as the referee’s coordinator at the Lesotho Football Association, said Phomane leaves a huge void in the referees’ department as his expertise was crucial in the growth of young referees.
The late Phomane remains the only Lesotho referee to have officiated a major competition as he took charge of the Confederation of African football (CAF) under-17’s tourney in Guinea in 2007.
“It is a big loss to us as the refereeing department and to the football fraternity at large,” Sentšo said.
“He was a referee for a very long time and remains the only referee in the country to have officiated a final of the CAF competition. Apart from that he has represented our country very well while officiating in a lot of high profile international games.”
Sentšo explained that since Phomane retired as a referee, he has been serving the association as a referee instructor.
“As you know, at the time of his death, he was serving the association as a referee instructor and his footprints are there for everyone to see.
“He has done a lot for this department and is one of the veterans that a played a huge role in grooming the current crop of referees.
“He was also working as a match assessor for the association and was one of those who inspect and keep a close eye on referees in matches.
“He was also the first person to be appointed as the referee’s coordinator since this office started operating and played a crucial role in helping those that came after him to reach their potential as well,” Sentšo said.
LeFA in collaboration with the referee’s department will today hold a memorial service at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena to remember the late referee.
He will be buried at Ha Thetsane on Saturday.
LeFa’s executive committee member and head of the referee’s department Rantsubise Matete told this paper that Phomane’s death was a terrible loss to their department.
“It is a terrible loss as he was one of our most experienced referees.
“After retiring he continued to serve the association as an instructor and has played a huge part in producing the current crop of referees.
“We have been getting good feedback from FIFA, CAF and COSAFA about our referees and credit goes to Phomane for all the good work.
“They have been telling us that our referees are doing extremely well hence they continue to get appointments to officiate in different competitions in the region and the continent loss,” Matete said.