World Cup 2022: Why is Victor Gomes or African referees not given final? – Safa’s Ebrahim asks

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Victor Gomes, 2022 World Cup, December 2022
South Africa’s head of referees Abdul Ebrahim has questioned why African referees have not been selected for the World Cup’s last four matches.
  • Gomes among African referees in Qatar
  • Officials for semis already picked
  • Ebrahim question exclusion from penultimate and ultimate matches

WHAT HAPPENED? Although a number of African referees were part of the competition from the group stage to the quarter-finals, they will not officiate in the remaining games.

Daniele Orsato – from Italy - will be the man at the centre during the Croatia vs Argentina semi-final on Tuesday. Assistant referee one will be Ciro Carbone, while Allesandro Giallatini and Mohammed Abdullah will be the second and third referees, respectively.

Mexico’s Cesar Arturo Ramos will oversee the other semi-final pitting France and Morocco. Alberto Morin, Miguel Hernandez, and Jesus Valenzuela will assist Ramos in Wednesday’s game.

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WHAT HAS BEEN SAID: "I actually thought our boys would stand a good chance to be in the quarterfinals and even in the semi-finals," Ebrahim stated.

"Yes, it is disappointing that Zakhele [Siwela] and Victor [Gomes] have been released early, but the appointment is something that is out of our hands.

"We have to ask why African referees are not given the opportunity on the global stage to do those kinds of finals. 

"If you saw, there is not even a gap we can talk about. It is a factor that is out of our hands."

AND WHAT IS MORE: Ebrahim lauded the work done by the referees from Africa who officiated different matches in Qatar.

"Having watched each and every game, having watched each and every match official – even Zakhele Siwela [South African assistant], I said to them, you have no reason to stand back and you are just as good as those referees from any part of the world," he added.

"We saw that, and Victor had two very good games, and all our African referees had good games. Maybe they were one or two incidents from Janny Sikazwe – but they represented Africa well."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Apart from Gomes, Sikazwe, and Siwela, Bakary Papa Gassama from Gambia – who took charge of the Netherlands against Qatar game – and Maquette Ndiaye from Senegal - were other African referees in the finals.

Salima Mukansanga – a female referee from Rwanda – was also part of the officiating team at the tournament.

WHAT NEXT FOR THEM? They are expected to take part in the Africa Cup of Nations’ remaining qualifiers next year.