Football Kenya Federation are worried about the declining standards of officiating and the number of referees in the country.
However, FKF National Executive Committee member Joseph Andere and referees’ manager Sylvester Kirwa have said they are working round the clock to reverse the situation.
The duo spoke at Gusii Stadium during the launch of an extensive training and fitness test for 240 Kenya Premier League, National Super League and National Division One referees ahead of the 2019/2020 season.
“Questions were raised about officiating in the KPL and NSL. We formed an ad hoc committee and the situation was temporarily sorted with some referees and their assistants being suspended,” said Andere, who heads FKF’s referees’ committee.
Andere, who was accompanied by FKF Nyanza South chairman Yobesh Mose, said the federation will not hesitate to take action against match officials.
“Referees are human beings and bound to make errors but where we feel that some cases are extreme, action will be taken,” said the Nyanza NEC representative. He said another test for Fifa referees will be conducted in Nairobi in August.
Andere said those who will pass the Physical Endurance Tests will be shortlisted to officiate in 2019/2020 season besides being promoted to perform official duties at higher levels.
He said the referees will also be trained on new laws which came into effect on June 1. “The training will help referees improve their skills and test fitness ahead of next season. We decided to do this immediately after the conclusion of the 2018/2019 season when fitness levels are still high,” he added.
He announced that the federation will train referees in 10 branches in October. “We want to start with ten in October and the rest later. The ten will include Nyanza South, West and North, who have small numbers of referees,” he noted. Other branches to benefit from the initiative are Grasissa, Eastern and Southern.
He asked county governments to sponsor the training of more referees and hailed Kisumu for accepting to sponsor one session for the match officials in their county. Kirwa added that officiating challenges are there but ‘will be addressed as they come’.
“We want to emphasize on education first. That is why we are here,” said the retired referee, who is also a CAF match commissioner and Fifa instructor.
Kirwa added: “This exercise also brings referees together to share ideas and catch up after a whole season.”
In March, KPL referees Hosea Omondi and Joshua Achila were suspended for three rounds while Collins Opiyo was suspended for four matches. Nick Indieka was suspended for four National Super League matches for inciting referees during training in Nairobi.