Friday, 25 May 2018

On the Road to WC 2018: Stage 2, Focus on CAF

The journey continues. After having analyzed the officials from AFC, now it is Africa's turn. Let's have a closer look at this confederation. 

The following officials will be part of 2018 WC coming from CAF:

Referee: Mehdi Abid Charef (ALG)
Referee: Malang Diedhiou (SEN)
Referee: Bakary Gassama (GAM)
Referee: Ghead Grisha (EGY)
Referee: Janny Sikazwe (ZAM)
Referee: Bamlak Tessema Weyesa (ETH)
Assistant Referee : Albdelhak Etchiali (ALG)
Assistant Referee: Anouar Hmila (TUN)
Assistant Referee: Djibril Camara (SEN)
Assistant Referee: El Hadj Samba (SEN)
Assistant Referee: Jean-Claude Birumushahu (BDI)
Assistant Referee: Marwa Range (KEN)
Assistant Referee: Redouane Achik (MAR)
Assistant Referee: Waleed Ahmed (SDN)
Assistant Referee: Jerson dos Santos (ANG)
Assistant Referee: Zakhele Siwela (RSA)

The referee with the biggest chances in this confederation is in my opinion Bakary Gassama from Gambia. Also in terms of experience, among the officials called from CAF, he is the only who has already attended a previous WC as main referee. In 2014, he got only one game in group stage. At that time it was a pity, because before the tournament in Brazil he had already shown to be a referee with great potential. This time for sure his World Cup will be better, including at least two games in group stage, that should be expected, if you ask us. But that's not all. In case of very good performances, we think that he could also reach at least a game in KO stage. What he had to improve (but this is for sure a common argument for all the referees who will be at WC), based on the last appearance one year ago at Confederations Cup, was VAR use. He had some problems in front of the monitor. Now, with so many meetings and a clear development thank to the experience, he should be able to manage it without any trouble. We expect a very good tournament for him. Assistant referees will be Birumushahu from Burundi and Range from Kenya, at least according to the last international FIFA assignment for them.

Zambia will be for sure a proud country, having a big name as representative at World Cup: Janny Sikazwe has indeed managed to be called for the tournament in Russia, after having shown quite good performances in FIFA tournaments. After so many years without a CAF referee handling the final of a FIFA tournament, he broke this rule by getting the final act of 2016 Club World Cup Final. This was for sure an excellent achievement for African refereeing after years and years, at least in Men's major tournaments. A good group stage is the expected target. Something more could follow, but basically this is what we think he can reach. Assistant referees: Jerson dos Santos from Angola and Zakhele Siwela from South Africa.

Ghead Grisha from Egypt will attend for the first time a WC, his final selection is surely the consequence of some good appearances in FIFA tournaments over the recent years and a very good experience at high level in CAF refereeing He attended both U20 World Cups in 2015 and 2017, and he was called for the Olympic tournament in 2016, reaching a quarterfinal. Like Sikazwe, the main target is a good group stage, then of course everything is always possible and we wish to all officials a more than good luck, in addition to good performances as well. Redouane Achik from Morocco and Waleed Ahmed from Sudan will accompany him, in what we could call a pan-Arab trio.

The only referee from CAF who will have the honor to officiate games at WC by having two countrymen at his side, wiill be Malang Diedhiou from Senegal.  Djibril Camara and El Hadj Samba will accompany him during the tournament in Russia. The Senegalese has been officially called for WC after having officiated as main referee in three FIFA tournaments in recent years: 2015 U17 World Cup, 2016 Olympic games and   2017 Club World Cup. He has also worked as VAR in some FIFA tournaments, and, differently from other referees called as main referees for this WC in Russia, he has a good experience also in this role. What he can expect is for sure to officiate at least two games in group stage, with the hope of something more in case of good achievements. 

Mehdi Abid Charef  from Algeria will be very likely a reserve referee, having officiated games only in two editions of U17 World Cup, both in 2015 and 2017. He will be very likely paired with his countryman Albdelhak Etchiali who will work as fifth official in the appointments. 

Bamlak Tessema Weyesa from Ethiopia will be a reserve referee as well, according to our opinion, he has attended only a FIFA tournament as main referee, in 2017. The Under 17 World Cup in India. Maybe he will have Anouar Hmila from Tunisia at his side as fifth official. 

No VAR specialists from this confederation. 


  1. OT: Promotions and relegations in France via Arbitrez-Vous.

    Referees promoted to Féderal 1 are Florent BATTA (37), Willy DELAJOD (25), Jérémy STINAT (39) and Éric WATTELLIER (30)

    Referee relegated to Fédéral 2 is Sébastien MOREIRA (40)

    Assistant Referees promoted to Fédéral 1 are Aurélien BERTHOMIEU (29) and Stephan PIGNATELLI (36)

    Assistant Referees relegated to Fédéral 2 are Sébastien DENIS (43) and Tugdual PHILIPPE (43).

    1. I see that the ranking for Ligue 1 is not the full one.
      There are only the first two referees (Gautier and Thual) and the last one, demoted (Moreira).
      Why? For Ligue 2, there is the full list.

    2. @Chefren Maybe they are waiting for the last 2 barrage games to be play.

    3. In France there is 2 categories :
      15 F1 Elite = with a professional contract
      6 F1 = without a professional contract.

      In April, DTA announced that 14 of 15 Elite have been reconduct. And the 15th (Rainville) will stay in Ligue 1 but as a simple F1 without professional contract.

      For the remaining 6 (F1)
      Chapron : not evaluated due to the announced end of career
      Desiage : not evaluated (illness in the end lf the season. He wasn't able to be observed by all the panel)
      Jochem : not evaluated = end or career

      The only 3 evaluated are Gautier, Thual and Moreira and DTA decided to reclass one of the F1 to F2

    4. Thank you for this explanation, well it looks like quite complex.

  2. Gassama has proved himself as an exceptional, official in the african scene and has earned his spot in the world cup. Same can be said about Janny Sikaze and Gehad Grisha

    1. In my humble opinion, Malang Diedhiou is a much better official than Grisha overall!

    2. My opinion is based on what i have observe while watching them in action. I have not really seen Malang Diedhiou in action but for him to make the world cup list in an environment as political as the African one, he is definitely worth his onions, no doubts.

  3. Quite a good interview with Urs Meier, one of the top class referees of the last years, regarding the CL Final.

  4. Very nice article on BBC News I read this morning:

    Champions League final ref's Northern Ireland mentor

    While most packed into Kiev's Olympic Stadium will only have eyes for the superstars on the pitch, one man at the Champions League final will take a special interest in the performance of the man in charge.

    Former World Cup referee Alan Snoddy first met Champions League final ref Milorad Mazic in 2010.

    The Carryduff man mentored the Serbian in his early refereeing days.

    His invite fulfils a promise Madric made should he make it to the top.

    "Milorad had always joked with me that if he got a major final he would issue the invitation," Mr Snoddy said.

    "True to his word, he's delivered after this long journey we've had together."

    The Liverpool v Real Madrid final comes eight years after the Serb and the World Cup referee from Carryduff first met at a UEFA referee's talent programme.

    Snoddy, who officiated at Mexico 86 and Italia 90, was one of four mentors chosen to pass on their know-how-to some of Europe's most promising refs.

    In the years since the two men have kept in touch, and Snoddy has kept a close eye on his former student's rise to the top.

    "I followed Milorad very closely for a few years officially, watching his games, watching his highlights and clips from matches and giving him the best coaching advice that I could assist him with."

    While the programme came to a close, the friendship between the men endured.

    "We always kept in touch. We would always have been discussing his performance after each game as he moved up the ranks," the Northern Irish referee added.

    He said even as a young man, the Serb had all the attributes to succeed.

    "He was always extremely fit, he always wanted to pay attention to the small details.

    "He was never satisfied after his games, even if they'd gone particularly well.

    "He wanted to work hard, he listened to the advice. And step by step as he moved up the European ladder he continued to improve and develop," he said.

    The former World Cup ref said the final invitation came as "a tremendous surprise".

    The teacher and pupil had been joking for years about an invitation if and when Madric got the big game call.

    "When he didn't receive the semi-final appointment this season, I think we thought that perhaps that this was his best opportunity," he added.

    Madric's former mentor has only one hope for his former pupil - that when the full time whistle sounds "no one is talking about the referee".

    A nice picture of them both ^)

    Maybe a question moreover for our Serbian readers, but I think one can call Snoddy the man "who made Mazic"?

    Clearly Mazic always had the talent (I watched his Lyon - Sociedad yesterday, really fantastic performance), but it seems Snoddy turned him from a raw talent into one of the best referees in the world.

    Before 2012/13 I remember he was considered a but too pedantic, and unable to read a match on a sophisticated level. But I am sure Collina saw his talent, and hoped that Snoddy could 'utilise' Mazic's strengths and work with him in some other facets.

    Surely Snoddy could use his British form of experience (they both knew a local "hot" match also, look at the politics of Northern Ireland during his time...), to transform Mazic into a very diligent referee, that is very smart on the pitch, and even more recently circa Madrid's derby, to turn his top-down authority into sth more edifying for the players.

    And tonight he has the CL Final! (Sorry that was longer than I planned :-))


      If you skip to 1:52:10 you can hear the full interview with Mr Snoddy

    2. And then we had Miroslav Radoman who wanted to remove Mazic from FIFA list 2 years ago just because he didnt wanted Mazic to get more derby matchs than him.
      Im really proud what Mazic have done in the last 2-3 years.

    3. @Jovan:
      I remember Miroslav Radoman from the UEFA Cup match STURM GRAZ (AUT) - AC PARMA (ITA) in December 1999 where he had an endless discussion with his assistant referee before he took his final (goal) decision - really an extremely poor management of a simple yes-or-no-question at that level:

      See the following clip, starting at 5:19:

  5. Good roadblock YC by Taylor in the Playoff Final (8'), but not preferable to play advantage.

    1. Missing RC:VC for a FUL#02 by stamping, straight in the visual control of fourth official Kevin Friend (29')

    2. (62') Taylor missed a RC:SFP for AVL#10, who had no control of his body, high intensity and a high hitting point. Quite a clear SFP IMO.

    3. 29' Violent Conduct?

      62' Serious Foul Play?

      And now a YC->RC, that should have been a direct RC! So maybe we can talk about 7,1 or so...

    4. What a game for Taylor. I will upload clips as soon as possible.

    5. So yet again not too effective under pressure... Sad! :(

    6. 29' It seems like a violent conduct and it literally takes place in front of the FO. What was mr Friend doing?

      62' 50-50 call. I would say orange.

    7. Videos

      20' - penalty appeal

      21' - penalty appeal

      29' - violent conduct?

      32' - reckless vs SFP

      42' - penalty appeal

    8. 63' - reckless vs SFP

      69' - penalty appeal

      70' - reckless vs SFP (2nd YC to Odoi)

      86' - reckless vs SFP

      90+2' - penalty appeal

    9. 61' - penalty appeal, handling

      84' - penalty appeal, handling

    10. At least TWELVE (!!!) key match incidents where Taylor had to decide: penalty or not, YC or RC. Extremely challenging game!

    11. All the penalty are correctly evaluated in my opinion, that should give him some positive points.
      The possible RCs are more difficult:
      The VC seems clear after the replays, but was in the 4th officials area of responsibility.
      Of the fouls, 63' and 86' IMO are more RC than YC, but not 100% clear mistakes, because in 63' the hitting point is low (on the foot) and in 86' the ball is clearly played first.
      Assessment of 32' depends on the perspective, anyway the intensity of the hit seems low. 70' for me is a YC, because the leg is not straight. But RC probably possible in both cases as well.

    12. I didn't appreciate it watching live- what a game for Taylor!

      If one considers the missing RC:VC the sole responsibility of Friend, and call the other eleven (11!) crucial decisions taken as acceptable, considering overall his control was impressive and his disciplinary control was adequate then could he be assigned at least sth close to a 9,0?


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