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3 Omani refs to officiate in AFC Asian Cup in Qatar

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MUSCAT, Sept 14

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced on Thursday the list of officials for the forthcoming AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 which will be staged in Doha during January 12 to February 10, 2024. For the first time in history, AFC opted the largest-ever cast with a total of 74 names across the Asian continent to officiate the Asia’s most prestigious men’s national team competition.

The unveiled list included three international referees from the Sultanate of Oman including Ahmed al Kaaf as main referee, Abu Baker al Amri and Rashid al Ghaithi as assistant referees.

Commenting on his selection to officiate at the Asian continental showpiece, Oman’s international referee Ahmed al Kaaf said he is very pleased with his presence in the next edition of the AFC Asian Cup. “This is my second successive attendance in the top Asian football event for the national teams after my debut in the previous edition in 2019 AFC Asian Cup in the UAE. Our hopes were to see more than three umpires from Oman to officiate in this largest Asian event. I am confident that in the few coming years we will see more than this number of Omani umpires as the new generation of officials are developing and showing top performance in their officiating of matches,” he added in his exclusive remarks to Oman Daily Observer.

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Al Kaaf, who hails from Salalah, said that he will be among the main referees to attend the seminar in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, on October 16. “All the main referees of the AFC Asian Cup will be busy for five days seminar ahead of the championship start in Doha. This edition will feature full implementation of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) after its debut in the quarterfinal stage of the last edition in the United Arab Emirates. This will be a great advantage for Omani umpires and the rest of referees as well,” he added.

Oman’s Al Kaaf advised all the referees that their role requires patience. It is also promising and ambitious career. “I am sure to see many talented Omani umpires in the coming few years. There are currently some of the local umpires who will attend some advanced courses in Saudi Arabia and this is as an introduction for them ahead of officiating in the forthcoming major events,” he concluded.

Japan’s Yoshimi Yamashita will make her debut as first woman match official at Asia’s prestigious football competition. She was among the six women officials who were historically selected for the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022.

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