Harambee Stars will not take part in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations that kicks off next weekend in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, but Kenya will be represented nonetheless.
Assistant referee Aden Range Marwa will join two other referees from Council of East and Central African Football Associations (Cecafa) member countries – Rwanda’s Felicien Kabanda and Jean-Claude Birumushahu from Burundi.
“It is every referee’s prayer to represent his or her country at such a level and this is a good opportunity for me, to be among the officials at this year’s tournament,” said Marwa.
The referee will be only the second from the region to take part in an event of such a high magnitude after Rwanda’s Celestin Ntagungira, now retired, who officiated in the 2010 Fifa World Cup Finals in South Africa.
Marwa was also an assistant referee in last year’s Under-17 Fifa World Cup in Mexico.
This will be a crucial moment for the official. Some of the great names have lost their Fifa badge and there are free slots on the federation’s prospective list for the next World Cup.
“Africa Cup of Nations is the biggest tournament in the continent and, for one to get a nod from Caf, it always presents a happy moment to any official,” added Marwa.
“I just pray to God to see me through the tournament.”
The Kenyan joins established referees such as Caf Referee of the Year Noumandiez Doue from Cote d’Ivoire, Mali’s Koman Coulibaly and Senegalese Badara Diatta, one of the best and most experienced officials from Africa.
It will be his fourth Africa Cup of Nations tournament, besides having overseen 10 World Cup qualifiers and some 2008 Beijing Olympic Games matches.
“Each tournament presents a different challenge and to take part in any of the top competitions is equally demanding,” Marwa pointed out.
The list of referees at 2012 Afcon Finals in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea
Referees: Mohamed Benouza, Djamel Haimoudi (ALG), Bouchaib El Ahrach (MAR), Neant Alioum (CMR), Daniel Bennett (RSA), Koman Coulibaly (MLI), Badara Diatta (SEN), Noumandiez Doue (CIV), Bakary Gassama (GAM), Ghead Grisha (EGY), Slim Jedidi (TUN), Aly Lemghaifry (MTN), Eddy Maillet (SEY), Hamada Nampiandraza (MAD), Eric Otogo-Castane (GAB), Khalid Abdel Rahman (SUD), Rajindraparsad Seechurn (MRI), Janny Sikazwe (ZAM)
Assistants: Evarist Menkouande, Yanoussa Moussa (CMR), Redouane Achik (MAR), Jean-Claude Birumushahu (BDI), Balkrishna Bootun (MRI), Richard Bouende-Malonga (CGO), Djibril Camara (SEN), Moffat Champiti (MAW), Jason Damoo (SEY), Balla Diarra (MLI), Aboubacar Doumbouya (GUI), Peter Edibe (NGR), Abdelhak Etchiali (ALG), Bechir Hassani (TUN), Felicien Kabanda (RWA), Angesom Ogbamariam (ERI), Aden Range (KEN), David Shaanika (NAM), Zakhele Siwela (RSA), Theophile Vinga (GAB), Songuifolo Yeo (CIV)