Sudanese international football referee Waleed Mohamed Ahmad is refereeing in the ongoing Russia 2018 World Cup Finals which will continue up to 15 July.
Waleed is the second Sudanese referee to show up in the World Cup finals after referee Abdeen Abdlerahman who refereed in the Sweden World Cup finals in 1958.
In a telephone interview Referee Waleed Spoke to Sudanow about his impressions over his participation in this grand international occasion that brings together lovers of this popular game from the different corners of the globe.
Waleed said he landed in Russia days before the Mondale kick off, reaffirming that the World football governing body, the FIFA, has taken due and mounting care of the refereeing teams. To this effect the FIFA had obliged the selected referees to be in Russia at a suitable time.
Immediately after arrival he received his residence program and regulations that included intensive courses, painstaking training and continued tests, which he passed successfully.
England-Panama, the First Appearance
Referee Waleed said was proud, indeed elated, to make his first appearance on the pitch with the England-Panama clash in the Groups' Stage on 24 June as assistant referee (lineman). The other refereeing squad members were the Egyptian Jihad Jeraisha (center) , the Moroccan Rudwan al-Sheikh (first assistant referee) , Thiland's Norbert Hawata (fourth referee), in addition to four Video Assistant Referees(VAR), for video monitoring and corrections.
Good Impression and Heaps of Praise
Waleed said his appearance in this match was convenient and successful when he and his fellow referees gave "a good impression to both organizers and watchers of the contest.", who gave them wide praise.
He said they had managed to successfully steer the match without "effective errors", in the match that saw several exciting events, including two penalties and seven goals!"
All our major decisions were hundred percent correct, a matter that earned us FIFA and fellow Mondale referees praise, he said, hoping that this showing could give them a second appearance in the ongoing contest."All referees are eager to take part in the coming matches," he said.
Perseverance, That Is It
Waleed attributed his success as a referee that propelled him to this high position (refereeing in the World Cup) to "perseverance, ambition and confidence. The World Cup championship is no doubt a grand event, a dream of all those involved in football, whether they are players, technicians or referees. Diligence, ambition, hard work and dedication are the way for such a position. Second, a referee has to master the refereeing law both in theory and practice through intensive reading and training. The referee should work with players and document all his drills in order to discover his shortcomings and consolidate his positives.
Here in Russia I don't represent myself. I am presenting a sample of Sudanese football and refereeing in Sudan and that is a great responsibility, he said.
Waleed has described the Sudanese referee as "educated and well cultured", and asserted that Sudan is endowed with good referees and there are many qualified referees who can show up in the World Cup "given perseverance, dedication and hard work."
Numerous Participations and A Different Arrangement
Referee Waleed has extolled the careful organization of the World Cup functions, when attention had been paid to all the details, even the tiny ones.
"It is true that I had refereed in several football occasions around the World such as the Youth World Cup in New Zealand and the Rio World Cup in Brazil in 2016, but I feel that Russia 2018 presents something different at the levels of organization and hosting. Russia has presented a superb organization. Everything is made available, not only at the official level but also at the public level. We have never felt that we are treated as aliens. There is nice co-existence among the visitors and the Russian public. The Russians are a pleasant, kind and nice people. That has helped us enjoy this event.
These are the atmospheres and beauties of the World Cup."
Workshops, Discussions and The Video Technology
Referee Waleed has maintained that football is in continuous progress every year. Even at the level of the game laws the FIFA is doing a big job. We have to cope with this progress and these reforms in football at the administrative and technical levels. What really drew my attention in this event was the attention paid to details and the search for progress. Workshops continue to be held after every match where valuable lectures are presented and on-going training is kept. Here shortcomings are remedied through advice and guidance. Incentives are presented for excellent performance.
What is new is the introduction of the Video Assistant Referees (VAR) technology in the World Cup. It has created a lot of excitement because of the argumentations that surrounded it and this is a natural thing, as it is a new experiment liable to revision and perfection.
Thanks to the Sudan Embassy.. Good Luck to Our National Team
Referee Waleed has considered his participation in the World Cup Finals "a good addition" to the Sudanese football and said the presence of Sudan in such a grand forum is something to ponder with. He expressed the hope that Sudan's next participation would be through the National Team. "The first step in this regard could be to send talented players to play abroad as professionals. That could help them play football at the high levels we see now. We have seen teams from countries with capabilities less than we have which succeeded to make it to the World Cup finals. That was attained through planning, which is the crucial element for progress" he said.
In conclusion, Referee Waleed extended his gratitude to all those who support him in his mission in Russia and, in particular, to the Sudan's Ambassador in Moscow, the Embassy's Military Attaché, the Embassy staff, the Sudanese students and members of the Sudanese community in Russia, hoping to complete his mission with success.