Thursday, May 5, 2011

Men in black

Strebre Delovski from Australia, one of 4 referees in the President's Cup
It won't just be the players of the four teams taking part in the AFC President's Cup Group A matches being played in Phnom Penh later this month that will be under the spotlight. It will be interesting to see the standard of the international match officials who are heading this way. All 4 of the confirmed referees have already officiated in this season's AFC Cup competition, the one up from the President's Cup. They are all members of the AFC Elite Panel of referees and it will give us an opportunity to compare them to the C-League officials we see week in and week out. I hope it will also allow our card-happy men in black like Thong Chankethya and Yien Kivatanak to learn a thing or two. The four referees include Australian Strebre Delovski, who at 36 years old, may not be the youngest of the quartet, but whose star is certainly rising in his home country down under, having got the nod for their cup final last season and was voted A-League referee of the season. Indian-born Pratap Singh (40) is the top I-League referee and has officiated in both the AFF Cup and this term's AFC Cup. The youngest of the four is 34 year old Rustam Kholov from Tajikistan, whilst Uzbekistan's Vladislav Tseytlin (40) is also fresh from carrying the whistle in the AFC Cup, as well as the AFC Challenge Cup. The assistant referees also hail from Australia, India, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as Bangladesh.

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