Mlilo puts Zim on world map

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The sport of squash in Zimbabwe was put on the world map when a Bulawayo squash player and vice-chairman of the Matabeleland Squash Association, Lucky Mlilo, attended the eleventh World Squash Refereeing Conference and officiated at the 23rd World Men’s Squash Championships 2011 in Paderborn, Germany.

The conference was conducted on August 19-20 by Chris Stahl, the chairman and acting director of the World Referees and Rules Committee, followed by the championship games from August 21-27 2011.

The World Men’s Squash Championships is the equivalent of the Soccer World Cup and is played every two years.

This year’s tournament attracted 32 teams with Egypt, South Africa and Namibia being the African representatives.

Egypt won the world championships again by beating France in the semi-finals 2-1 and England in the finals 2-1.

The previous tournament was won by Egypt in Denmark after they beat France 2-1.

There were more than 40 referees from England, Scotland, Germany, Slovenia, Ireland, Mexico, Barbados, South Africa, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Singapore, Ukraine, India and Zimbabwe.

Mlilo had the privilege of refereeing the match between Ireland and Columbia on August 24 and said he was delighted with exposure he got from the refereeing conference and handling a World Cup match.

Zimbabwe was recognised by the World Squash Federation (WSF) and there are plans to introduce the competency-based training and assessment programme which is run by WSF and has been successfully implemented on other continents except Africa.

This is a programme that trains and assesses referees and sees them progressing through the stages of being national referees, regional, then world referees and ultimately becoming world assessors.

Mlilo said he had set his sights on this programme and was looking forward to the World Masters Squash Championship in Birmingham, United Kingdom in 2012 and the next World Men’s Squash Championships in France in 2013.