Centre referee Davies Omweno (centre) and assistants Mary Njoroge and Gilbert Cheruiyot officiate the Kenyan Premier League U20 championship between Mathare United FC and Gor Mahia Youth at Nyayo National Stadium on Friday, August 26, 2016. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]
Top Kenyan referee Davies Omweno has surprisingly been left out of the provisional list for match officials during this year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt.
Instead, Confederation of African Football (CAF) has picked university don Peter Waweru and assistant referee Gilbert Cheruiyot in a 56-man provisional list.
Omweno’s star has been on the rise despite a three-month suspension by CAF two years ago and was expected to be picked for the three-week event that kicks off on June 21.
It is not surprising for Waweru to have been shortlisted given his performance in the local league and experience in handling high profile matches.
Cheruiyot has been quite instrumental on the local scene and was last season named the most improved assistant referee. If he makes the cut, it will be his second biggest assignment as he took part in the 2016 Africa Nations Championships (CHAN) in Rwanda.
SportPesa Premier League (SPL) head of security committee and former referee G.M.T Otieno challenged the duo to maintain integrity during the tournament.
“I wish to congratulate them but at the same time to remind them that they are representing the country and must, therefore, carry themselves with utmost integrity,” he said.
Tunisia and Egypt have the highest number of centre referees with three each while Morocco and Algeria have two. Apart from Kenya, other East African countries with centre referees selected include Burundi, Sudan and Ethiopia. Uganda and Tanzania have missed out.
Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt Senegal and Tunisia also have two assistant referees each in the provisional list.