January 26, 2021

Referee Kayoko reveals how he dealt with Yanga SC vs Simba SC pressure

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The 26-year-old was tasked with the duties of officiating the FA Cup semi-final match between the traditional arch-rivals on July 12

Tanzanian referee Ramadhan Kayoko has revealed how he dealt with the pressure of officiating the Yanga SC vs Simba SC FA Cup meeting in July.

The Kariakoo rivals met in the penultimate stage of the domestic tournament and Kayoko was charged with the responsibility of being a referee in the derby, something he had not done before.

Simba won the tie with a 4-1 scoreline and went ahead to lift the cup after beating Namungo FC 2-1 on August 2.

“At first I was nervous because it was my first big game and at such an age. However, I got the courage to face it. The pressure was there but I managed to calm down,” Kayoko told CafOnline.

“It was such a huge surprise for me. I really prayed for things to go okay and I am happy that my colleagues gave me the strength and encouragement to face it. On our way to the stadium with my colleagues, we came singing and dancing to calm the pressure.”

The Tanzanian Football Federation (TFF) Referees’ Committee chairman Soud Abdi explained why Kayoko had to be picked for the highly-charged derby.

“It is common that this derby is officiated by Fifa referees but this time round most of them were not doing enough. Jonesia [Rukia] doesn’t have match fitness because she [had] underwent surgery a few weeks ago,” Abdi said.

“We don’t look at the face or age of someone to officiate such a match. We look at his or her quality. In the past few weeks, Kayoko was doing very well and deserved the appointment.”

Kayoko, who initially hoped to become a footballer, a dream that was crushed by injuries, also spoke about the challenges he has encountered in his first season as a Premier League referee.

“There have been many challenges. As a young referee, the road is always not so smooth. But I have never given up and I continue to work hard to improve myself,” the official added.

He revealed plans of getting further education with sanctioned football bodies.

“I want to continue learning and becoming better and eventually getting Caf and Fifa certification,” Kayoko concluded.

“I don’t want to feel proud because I officiated the derby or people are saying good things about me. I know there are challenges ahead but I will work hard to keep beating them and becoming better.

“I feel like it is a good start to my career. This is my first season in the Tanzanian Premier League and I have picked several lessons from all the matches. I will keep learning and build my experience to become a better referee.”

Kayoko was also in charge of the Azam FC FA Cup quarter-final match against Simba.