Considered the current best referee on the African continent, South Africa’s Victory Gomes and his trusted lieutenant, Assistant Referee Zakhele Siwela, have been appointed to be part of the officials that will officiate at the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar from 21 November to 18 December 2022.
The two handled the AFCON final between Senegal and Egypt in Cameroon early this year with aplomb and their reputation as the best African officials has been growing with every game.
Gomes made himself a name when he sarcastically offered Mohammed Salah his whistle and cards after the Liverpool star questioned his officiating. This incident went viral all over the world with many applauding the South African referee for not being scared of officiating against Mo Salah considering his status.
Before the World Cup, he’ll be a referee in the CAF Champions League final to be played on the 28th this month. Gomes said going to the FIFA World Cup, his second consecutive one was another show of confidence by the football authorities of his capabilities.
“I am extremely privileged to represent our country, my family and the Association (SAFA) at the biggest sporting event in the world. I am looking forward to going out there and give it our best, myself and my team. We will be raising the South African flag high and we want to make our country proud,’’ said Gomes.
Siwela, a modest seasoned official said it was pleasing to see hard work and dedication paying off.
‘’This is great. Me and Gomes will continue working hard and we will continue to hoist the South African flag high.’’
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Siwela and Gomes joins the following list of South Africans who have officiated at FIFA World Cup tournaments:
*Daniel Bennett (U-17 World Cup 2013 UAE‚ Club World Cup UAE 2010)
*Jerome Damon (World Cup 2010‚ U-17 World Cup 2005 Peru‚ U-17 World Cup Nigeria 2009‚ Olympic Games 2008‚ Club World Cup Japan 2006)
*Carlos Henriques (U-20 World Cup Nigeria 1999)
*Ian McLeod (World Cup 1998‚ Confederation Cup 1997)
*Enoch Molefe (World Cup 2010‚ U-17 World Cup 2005 Peru‚ U-17 World Cup Nigeria 2009‚ Olympic Games 2008‚ Club World Cup Japan 2006)
*Achmat Sallie (World Cup 1998‚ U-20 World Cup Malaysia 1997)
*Zakhele Siwela (World Cup 2018‚ U-20 World Cup 2017 South Korea‚ U-20 World Cup 2015 New Zealand‚ U-17 World Cup 2011 Mexico‚ U-17 World Cup 2013 UAE‚ Club World Cup UAE 2018)
*Ari Soldatos (World Cup 1998‚ U-20 World Cup Qatar 1995).