As much as Ahmad Ahmad and his team want to clear CAF from corruption and sell a better image of African football, therefore addressing and upgrading the standard of referees across the continent should be among its agenda.
Off late Africa can't boast more than five outstanding referees, and that number can be seen when officials are been nominated for world competitions, be it World Cup, Club World Cup, Confederation Cup or even Olympics. Only three do make the cut, as a continent that is a very small number .You can't blame FIFA much if African referees aren't working in the standard they are expected to deliver.
I would not like to focus much on the disgraceful Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey, who have been found manipulating match results since 2004 within national, continental and global level with his most recent been awarding the dubious penalty between South Africa and Senegal in a world cup qualifier.
Africa have produced great referees over the years the likes of Neant Alioum, Daniel Bennet, Badara Diatta, Djamel , Doue Noumandiez, Gehad Grisa and Malang Diedhiou just to name few.
Burkina Faso referee Boukari Ouedraogo , should remind CAF that they must create more trainings for their FIFA referees simply because most of this continental matches are been decided by the men in the middle. The Burkina Faso referee was the talking point of the WAFU opener when he failed to end the game after the added time exceeded and manufactured a penalty for the host , who latter converted it.
The headline from that game reads Gambia robbed in Ghana. As Ahmad Ahmad’s motto is “CAF , all ears to any of the football actors” am sure that CAF exco-members were following the WAFU competition and one thing they should learn from the game opener is the standard of referring is degrading and they should change the face of the men in the middle. I think FIFA can help with trainings and techniques.
I am starting to doubt if refereeing is about integrity, hence most derbies, play-offs or finals across Africa is been decided by poor officiating. Referees should be paid properly by its federation to avoid been corrupt. Imagine Egypt FA paying excess of £10,000 to a foreign referee in the name of Willie Collum to officiate a derby between Zamalek and Al Ahly earlier in the year.
That’s an insult in the face of Egyptians and African referees if its federation can't entrust them on big and decisive games. I would like to be fair that even the standard of referring in the premier league is poor, every end of month clubs do sit calculating hadn't been bad decision from referees their clubs could climb on the table.
UEFA are equally producing very controversial referees off late and the first who came to my mind is the retired Danish referee Tom Ovrebro who denied Chelsea four clear penalties in 2009 against Barcelona. Back in 2012 it was claimed that Mourinho waited for Spanish referee Fernando Teixeira and told him after an El Classico that “quit the artist, how you like to screw the professionals”. The Way forward is that CAF should have very good referees review panel and start suspending referees deem unfit for matches as they did with the Mauritius referees Seechurn in 2015.
One winner in this dilemma is Gambia’s FIFA referee who keeps flying the flag of the Gambia and African referees as he is always the first name on the FIFA referee panel when selecting referees for global assignments.
He has the environment to ink his name among the greatest referees of the game.