2022 World Cup: Zambia's Sikazwe, South Africa’s Gomes selected as referees

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Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe and South Africa’s Victor Gomes have been selected to officiate in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The world-governing body has selected 36 referees, while 69 have been picked as assistant referees, and 24 video referees have been selected ‘based on their quality and performances'.

"As always, the criteria we have used is ‘quality first’ and the selected match officials represent the highest level of refereeing worldwide," said the chairman of the Fifa referees committee, Pierluigi Collina.

"The 2018 World Cup was very successful, partly because of the high standard of refereeing, and we will do our best to be even better in a few months in Qatar."

Sikazwe – who has been selected to officiate the Caf Confederation Cup match between RS Berkane and Orlando Pirates in Uyo on May 20 - got himself in the limelight during the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon in a match between Mali and Tunisia.

The Zambian blew his whistle to indicate the end of the match in the 85th minute. The match resumed after the error, only for him to end the game again in the 90th minute. However, the match ended after the second blunder, with around 17 seconds of normal time remaining on the clock.

Meanwhile, Fifa has also appointed three women referees and three assistants, and Rwanda’s Mukansanga is one of them.

"We are very happy that with Stephanie Frappart from France, Mukansanga from Rwanda, and Yoshimi Yamashita from Japan," Collina added.

"Assistant referees Neuza Back from Brazil, Karen Diaz Medina from Mexico, and Kathryn Nesbitt from the USA, we have been able to call up female match officials for the first time in the history of a Fifa World Cup.

Collina added that the criteria for picking the women officials for men’s tournaments is quality and not gender.

"This concludes a long process that began several years ago with the deployment of female referees at Fifa men’s junior and senior tournaments," he concluded.

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"In this way, we clearly emphasise that it is quality that counts for us and not gender. I would hope that in the future, the selection of elite women’s match officials for important men’s competitions will be perceived as something normal and no longer as sensational.

"They deserve to be at the Fifa World Cup because they constantly perform at a really high level, and that’s the important factor for us."

The global competition will be hosted in Qatar between November 21 and December 18, and Africa will be represented by Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia, Cameroon, and Ghana.