While recent soccer news out of Eritrea may not have been as good as we would like them to be, it should be noted that this young nation seems to still be doing well in the sports world as well as soccer. The arrival of diaspora Eritreans playing for their motherland is a great success in itself. Even the Swedish player of the year and top 2 scorer was proud to represent his great nation that many people gave up their lives for. It is also to be noted that the history of Eritrean soccer is one that most people know to be way advanced since the early days of Italian occupation despite recent player defections. However, if we took a little time and see that Eritrean referees have done very well, we may come to appreciate that the rules and regulation on the field are very well versed and taught as a process that helps the game tremendously within the country.
On January 10th, 2016 fourteen referees from 4 different regions of Eritrea got their FIFA badge and should be able to start officiating games very soon. Congratulations to all 14 who have been certified. To add to the good news out of the 14 referees three females were included indicating that diversity is a part and parcel of the Eritrean society. Twelve of the fourteen also had been working in an international standard game situation. Their names are as follows starting with the 5 internationally qualified head referees,
1. Amanuel Eyob From Anseba Region
2. Yemane Asfaha From Southern Region
3. Yonas Zekarias From Central Region
4. Idris Mohammed From Southern Red Sea Region
5. Yodit Fitwi from Central Region
Meanwhile the assistant referees which can serve as one of three assistants to the main referee are as follows,
1. Angesom Ougbamariam from the Central Region
2. Berhe Teklegiorgish From the Central Region
3. Suleiman Saleh From the Anseba Region
4. Higush Mohamedberhan From the Southern Region
5. Bekit Mohamedberhan From the Anseba Region
6. Yohannes Kifle From the Southern Region
7. Yohannes Tewolde From the Central Region
8. Tsega Hasan From the Central Region
9. Elsa Yohannes From the Central Region
Newly FIFA Certified Eritrean referees along with ENFF
Congratulations to all those referees and they will be representing Eritrea in many international games. Let us now look back at the history of referees who have done well internationally and also happen to be Eritreans.
To start with the current ENFF (Eritrean National Football Federation) head Tesfaye Gebreyesus is a well known international referee who has officiated big games including the following important games. The 1970 African nations Cup final game between Sudan and Ghana which Sudan the host ended up winning, FIFA U-20 World Cup 1977, In the African nations cup 1978, Final game of 1980 African nations cup between Nigeria and Algeria where the super eagles won, In FIFA U-20 World Cup 1981, In The 1984 Olympics that took place in Los Angeles, USA, In the African nations cup 1988 and many other games. He was a pioneer and of the early well known referees of Eritrean descent.
Tesfaye Gebreyesus here seen behind Education Minister Semere Russom during the last CECAFA event Eritrea hosted.
Meanwhile World football governing body, FIFA named Mensur Maeruf Kherseed from Eritrea as referee for the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying match between Nigeria and Namibia, played in Windhoek. Maeruf Kherseed became an international referee in 2008, while another Eritrean referee Berhe Tesfagiorghis O’Michael became an international assistant referee in 2004. Another Eritrean, Luelseghed Ghebremichael also officiated games as a number 4 referee in the 2014 world cup that was held in Brazil. So the resume of Eritreans in the refereeing industry should be used as an example of another success story in Eritrean sports.
For Eri-International sports