Local referees aim high
Thirty-two referees have gathered for a five-day assessment and training at the Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret, marking Kenya’s return to refining its officiating standards after a four-year hiatus.
Under guidance of FIFA’s technical instructor, Carlos Henriques, the rigorous assessment is aimed at elevating Kenyan referees to meet global standards. Henriques emphasised the necessity of strict adherence to fitness, game knowledge and law interpretation for FIFA certification.
“We are going to try to boost Kenyan refereeing. We are sorry that no one from FIFA has been here (in Kenya) for the last four years,” he added.
Despite the setbacks caused by Kenya’s suspension from FIFA and the pandemic-related pause, elite referees like Gilbert Cheruiyot and Mary Njoroge showcased unwavering optimism.
“Kenyan referees are among the best in Africa. As a referee, you have no option but to train hard and work on your body weight,” Cheruiyot averred.
Cheruiyot highlighted the demanding journey of refereeing, stressing discipline and rigorous training, sentiments echoed by Njoroge, who brought her enriched experience from officiating in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Antony Makau, Chairman of the FKF referees committee, affirmed the federation’s commitment to grooming referees for FIFA-level appointments.
He stated, “We have given our referees what is required for them to be in a position to be elevated to FIFA level. Thirty-two referees participated in the assessments and training.”
In the same vein, Sylvester Kirwa, the FKF referees manager, highlighted the inclusion of young talent in their preparations, recognizing the importance of developing the future generation of officials.
With the training encompassing fitness assessments and rules refinement, the FKF sought to equip referees not only for present standards but also for future challenges.
Kirwa emphasized the impact of the FKF leagues in honing refereeing skills, envisioning a strengthened cadre of officials ready to meet international standards.
“By Friday, the referees will have upped their game in terms of rules. The training is happening at high altitude and we have to up our game,” he added.