Nairobi — Kenyan FIFA referees are slowly beginning to feel the brunt of the suspension slapped on Kenya by world governing body as they are set to miss out on several CAF And FIFA tournaments until the country is plucked from the cold.
Capital Sports Understands that the team of centre referee Peter Kamaku, assistants Gilbert Cheruiyot and Samuel Kuria as well as fourth official Anthony Juma Ogwayo were set to be appointed to officiate the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Morocco and South Africa.
Kenya also had a trio of female referees who were set to officiate at next month’s Africa Women’s Cup of Nations, but their appointments now hang on a thread if FIFA does not lift Kenya’s suspension.
Several FIFA referees who spoke to Capital Sport on condition of anonymity have expressed their heartbreak over the suspension that has seen them miss several opportunities over the last few months.
Currently, among the top Kenyan referees who have been out and about on international duties include Kamaku, who became the first ever Kenyan to officiate at a continental final when he took charge at the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Cameroon last year.
Assistant referees Mary Njoroge and Jane Cherono are also among the frequent appointees to international assignments.
“Already, there are so many opportunities we have missed because there have been CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup matches, there were also qualifiers for the Women’s Cup of Nations and Under-17 World Cup qualifiers that the female referees missed,” one of the referees told Capital Sport.
He further added; “There are also several courses that were organized by FIFA the last two months that we could not attend. This suspension is really hurting us and we hope that the issue can be solved.”
The referees are set to miss out on more opportunities with the Under-17 Girls’ World Cup in India as well as qualifiers for the AFCON U23, which most of them had opportunities to work in.
“We just hope that the CS can have so many issues in mind and have a conversation with FIFA because in the long run, it is not just us referees who are going to feel the weight of the suspension but our players as well. If Kenya doesn’t play the qualifiers and interclub matches for our clubs next year, then we lose a huge opportunity,” another referee said.
“Most of us make our living from officiating and these international matches definitely are a good ground for us. It is quite heartbreaking if we miss out and we hope we have light at the end of the tunnel,” said another referee.
The qualifiers for the 2023 Cup of Nations kick off on June 1.