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Monday,October 26,2020 13:59 PM

Fattah, the finest referee in Africa

By Vision Reporter

Added 4th June 2007 03:00 AM

Name: Essam Abdul-Fattah
Age: 41
Profession: Air Force pilot
Rank: Lt Maj.
Nationality: Egyptian
Credentials:
One of two African referees at the 2006 World Cup in Germany

Name: Essam Abdul-Fattah
Age: 41
Profession: Air Force pilot
Rank: Lt Maj.
Nationality: Egyptian
Credentials:
One of two African referees at the 2006 World Cup in Germany

By Norman Katende

Name: Essam Abdul-Fattah
Age: 41
Profession: Air Force pilot
Rank: Lt Maj.
Nationality: Egyptian
Credentials:
One of two African referees at the 2006 World Cup in Germany

THE Egyptian referee who handled the critical Nations Cup qualifier between Uganda and Nigeria on Saturday is the finest Africa has to offer.
“He’s the best official without a doubt. FIFA ranks him highly as does CAF. His credentials are truly impeccable,” FIFA referee, Roberto Bukenya revealed yesterday.
Bukenya’s comments are in harmony with those of Egypt-based Ugandan striker Geoffrey Massa who described Essam Abdul-Fattah as “the best in Africa” pre-match.
“He’s the best referee in Africa. This time, Ugandans shouldn’t worry. I would be surprised if he didn’t perform highly as he does usually in Egypt,” Massa remarked two weeks ago.
Former Uganda Referees Association head Aggrey Kibenge joined the chorus of Abdul-Fattah’s fans after what he described as “the most authoritative performance by any referee I’ve seen here in Uganda so far.”
“The game was of a high tempo and he performed beyond average. It was good that we got a referee who had experience and who could not be intimidated by the crowds. Just imagine the situation if we did not have such a high level referee,” said Kibenge.
The Egyptian Air Force pilot passed the ‘courage test’ the match posed by not only awarding two quick penalties against Nigeria’s star-studded outfit but also booking African football icon, Kanu Nwankwo when he dared question the first spot-kick.
“As long as it is in the area, it is a penalty,” added Kibenge.
Abdul-Fattah dispelled any illusions that he was trying to impress the home crowd when he sent off midfield ace, Noah Babadi Kasule for leaving his defensive wall early.
Abdul-Fattah was the only Arab referee, and one of two Africans, in the 2006 World Cup.
He memorably awarded Japan a goal despite protests from Australia that their goalkeeper Michael Schwazer had been fouled prior to the strike by Shunsuke Nakamura.
However, FIFA commended the Egyptian for his temperament and good-decision-making after reviewing the tapes and concluding that Nakamura had been shoved instead.

Fattah, the finest referee in Africa

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