While referees at all competition levels (local, national, international) are associated with FIFA, only those that have achieved the highest qualification level can officiate in international FIFA matches.
All referees affiliated with FIFA have a designated grade and must advance in grade in order to referee higher level matches.
FIFA has chosen eight referees from the African continent to officiate the World Cup matches, which will be held in November and December in Qatar.
Seven of the eight referees selected are among the 10 referees who officiated the African Qualifiers of the 2022 World Cup Playoffs in March 2022. They will undergo training for some months ahead of the tournament which starts in seven months.
Referees selected are Jean Jacques Ndala (Dr Congo), Mustapha Ghorbal (Algeria), Redouane Jiyed (Morocco), Papa Bakary Gassama (Gambia), Balmak Tessema (Ethiopia), Victor Gomez (South Africa), Janny Sikazwe (Zambia), and Maguette N’diaye (Senegal).
Interestingly, Bakary Gassama of the Gambia will be making history as he becomes the first African referee to officiate in three World Cup finals spanning from the 2014 edition in Brazil, the 2018 edition in Russia and now Qatar 2022.
A notable name on the list is Janny Sikazwe. In an opening group game between Mali and Tunisia at the recently finished AFCON, the Zambian official sparked controversy by attempting to end the contest in the 85th minute and then, whistling again before the 90th-minute mark.
Sikazwe was later diagnosed with heat exhaustion and was defended by Essam Abdel-Fatah, the AFCON 2021 head of referees.
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