1 June 2018

Africa: Foreign Currency Hurdle for Angolan FIFA Referee

An Angolan international assistant referee who was picked for the FIFA 2018 World Cup risks missing his trip to Russia due to lack of foreign currency.

According to Angop, a state-run news agency, Gerson Emiliano dos Santos, 35, said that the exchange rate policy of commercial banks is the main difficulty.

He was speaking during a ceremony on Tuesday to honour him for his appointment in his home province of Huila in southern Angola where the deputy governor for social, political and economic affairs, Ms Maria João Chipalavela, received him.

Mr Emiliano is set to present himself to the Fifa officials on June 3 in Russia.

He is quoted saying that he had contacted banks and waiting for response.

Due to a foreign exchange shortage, it is hard to change money in Angola.

A dollar exchanges for 237,971 kwanzas (the Angolan currency) while in the black market it is 415,000 kwanzas.

The father of two is a professor of Mathematics and is the only Angola national to work in the tournament.

"I am ready not only physically but also psychologically," Mr Emiliano said ahead of the Fifa 2018 World Cup that kicks off on June 14.

Mr Emiliano has refereed at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in China, 2016 Under-17 World Cup in Chile, 2016 Club World Cup in Japan, and the 2017 Under-20 World Cup in Korea.

He has also participated in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the African Cup of Nations (Afcon).

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