Nothing is as prestigious to any referee world over as donning the treasured Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) badge.
Right from infantry, aspiring referees yearn to serve the beautiful game by working to wear that FIFA Badge, arguably the highest level of active refereeing.
In Uganda, there are 22 international football referees with the FIFA Badge, an increment from last year’s 21.
These lucky albeit deserving 22 referees received their badges for the 2019 season on Saturday, 12 January 2019 at Jevine Hotel, near the historical Kabaka’s lake in Rubaga division, Kampala.
Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) President, also a CAF Executive Committee member Moses Magogo was the chief guest at the event also attended by the media.
FUFA first vice president, also the head of projects at the Mengo based Federation, Justus Mugisha, FUFA Referees’ standing committee chairperson and Executive member Ronnie Kalema, FUFA Football Development director Ali Mwebe, FUFA Referees manager Samuel Egesa among others.
Magogo urged the referees to defend this prestigious badge at all times in line with the federation’s vision and mission of topping African football.
FUFA has a vision of becoming the number one footballing nation in Africa. Our mission is about development, protection and promotion of football in Uganda. Referees have a role to play in development of the game. Defend this badge at all times. Everybody has a role to play in promotion of this beautiful game – football. It takes us to make it what it is. Promotion, protection of the game is also very crucial. Fitness and integrity are important keys. Defend the Badge by performance. If it is time to retire, choose it. Go and rest on a high. Choose the right moment to. Choose the right moment to everything comes to an end. Let us not choose it for you. Mentor the young who are aspiring to come. Self development is key for referees in a number of areas such as language diversity and ITCMoses Magogo, FUFA President
Mwebe communicated the key means that FUFA is undertaking to uplift the standard of refereeing in Uganda.
The development of referees now falls under the football development department. There is a development path way for the rise of referees, just like referees. We shall maintain the courses, medical and fitness tests which are mandatory as well starting French lessons for the international refereesAli Mwebe, FUFA Football Development Director
Each of the eight regions of FUFA has an international referee and this is a big achievement. The FUFA refereeing department is working within all the means to protect the three key pillars; Integrity, fitness and performance.Ronnie Kalema, FUFA Referees’ committee chairperson, FUFA Executive Committee member
A good number of national refereeing courses. There will be 8 regional refereeing courses, including referees’ assessors and instructors. Medical and fitness tests which are mandatory and a routine.
Florence Ayaro from the North East region and Kawagga Bazirio (beach soccer) are the first time faces on the list of 22.
Meanwhile, banned FIFA assistant woman referee Lydia Nantabo Wanyama was officially excused.
Nantabo was the first assistant referee in the ill-fated Express one-all draw with Vipers at Mutesa II Stadium in Wankulukuku, a match where the visitors (Vipers) scored from a seemingly offside position.
The two other banned referees are still serving their sentences.
FUFA has initiated french classes and ITC lessons for all the international referees, aided at helping them whenever they are appointed for continental or international duties.
For starters, the FIFA Badge serves only 365 days before new ones are issued. The federation recommends the personnel suitable to have that badge based on performance.
The full list of Ugandan FIFA Referees 2019
Referees (Men): Brian Miiro Nsubuga, Mashood Ssali, Alex Muhabi (Doctor), Ali Sabilla Chelangat, William ‘Engineer’ Oloya
Assistant referees (Men): Mark Ssonko, Dick Okello, Ronald Katenya, Lee Okello, Musa Balikoowa Ngobi, Issa Masembe
Referees (Women): Shamirah Nabadda, Diana Murungi, Florence Ayaro
Assistant referees (Women): Lydia Nantabo Wanyama, Catherine Cynthia Nagaddya, Marex Nakitto Nkumbi, Jane Mutonyi
Beach Soccer: Ivan Kintu Bayige, Shafic Mugerwa, Muhammad Ssenteza, Keneddy Kawagga Bazirio