THE World Football governing body FIFA has risked sparking controversy by naming Angolan referee Helder Martins de Carvalho as the centre man for the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying match between the national soccer team, Taifa Stars, and the Atlas Lions of Morocco.
Carvalho career is not short of controversies. He participated in the FIFA Under 17 World Cup in Mexico 2011 and joined the prospective list of referees for WC 2014, before being withdrawn from the list allegedly due to poor performance.
The 36-year old official made the headlines last June after a controversial performance during the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match between Cameroon and Senegal in Yaounde. The game ended in a barren draw and with two expulsions of Senegalese players and their coach Amara Traore.
He was strongly accused by Senegalese prime minister for breach of neutrality. Just one year earlier, Martins was suspended by CAF for several months due to rumours saying that he was not neutral in his AFCON 2010 match between Nigeria and Benin. Carvalho will be assisted by compatriots, Inacio Manuel Candido (first assistant), Daniel Cachicumi (second assistant) and Antonio Muachihuissa Caxala (fourth official).
The match commissioner is David Fani from Botswana while the referee assessor is Neermal Boodhoo from South Africa. According to the statement released by the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) the match officials and match commissioner are respectively scheduled to arrive in the country on Friday aboard Kenya Airways (at 19:20 hrs) and South African Airways (at 19:45hrs).
The Taifa Stars take on Morocco on Sunday at the National Stadium in a Group C clash of the 2014 World Cup that could go a long way to deciding whether the team progresses any further in the competition. Kim Poulsen's boys moved into residential camp in Dar es Salaam on Saturday ahead of the highly-anticipated qualifier, with only 14 players out of 23 that are making up the squad, reporting to the camp.
Those reported were skipper and first-choice goalkeeper Juma Kaseja, Aggrey Morris, Erasto Nyoni, Kelvin Yondani, Nadir Haroub, Nassoro Masoud 'Chollo', Shomari Kapombe and Salum Abubakar.
Others are Athuman Idd, Amri Kiemba, Frank Domayo, Mwinyi Kazimoto, Mrisho Ngasa and Simon Msuva. Mtibwa Sugar trio of Hussein Shariff, Issa Rashid and Shabani Nditi were expected to join the squad after being involved in a league match against Coastal Union in Turiani, Morogoro on Saturday.
The Stars squad will be full on Tuesday when Azam's quintet that travelled to Liberia for a Confederation Cup first round first leg match against Barrack Young Controllers played yesterday and DR Congobased TP Mazembe duo Mbwana Samata and Thomas Ulimwengu, join the rest of the squad. Five Azam players yet to join the camp include goalkeepers Mwadini Ally and Aishi Manula, attacking midfielder Khamis Mcha and John Bocco.