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[online work for earning]A fair game of football for all

  Fadhil Yunus

  The presence of local referees Abdul Hakim bin Mohd Haidi and Ali Faisal bin Rosli at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup group stage matches has added a certain level of prestige and legitimacy to the country’s ability to produce top referees for the beautiful game.

  Matchday officials command a high degree of respect and authority on the pitch, and with that comes an equal amount of responsibility to be fair and impartial.

  Abdul Hakim and Ali Faisal recently made headlines after earning appointments to officiate matches in the AFC Cup, the Asian equivalent of the of the UEFA Europa League.

  Abdul Hakim officiated the match between Mongolia’s Athletic 220 and Hong Kong’s Eastern Sports Club at the Hong Kong Stadium (where Eastern won 1-0) while Ali Faisal was the assistant referee at the match between Athletic 220 and Tainan City FC (Abdul Hakim was also the fourth official).

  This weighty level of trust by the AFC organisers was a recognition of their ability and the hard work they had put in earning their qualifications to ensure fair play.

  Abdul Hakim’s rise is particularly spectacular. He received his refereeing badges with a Class 3 Licence in 2016. He passed his FIFA AFC Elite Course in Kuala Lumpur in 2019 and was subsequently recognised as a FIFA AFC Elite Referee in 2020, one of the very few in the country.

  

  Abdul Hakim’s international assignment began at the group stages of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Under-16 Championship in 2018 and was chosen as the fourth official in the AFF Suzuki Cup in Laos later that year. He was also joined by Bruneian referee Amdillah Zainuddin who officiated the Group ‘B’ match between Timor-Leste and the Philippines in the same tournament.

  In 2019, Abdul Hakim received his big break when he was chosen to officiate a semi-final match between Cambodia and Thailand in the AFF Under-22 Championship as well as a fourth official role in the third place playoff between Vietnam and Cambodia.

  He also performed similar roles during the AFF Under-15 Championship in the same year.

  Abdul Hakim also officiated as referee and fourth official in the University World Cup Football in China in 2019 before making waves in the AFC Cup.

  In January 2020, the 31-year-old was made fourth official as part of a four-man strong officiating line-up in the first leg of the AFC Cup playoff match between Svay Rieng FC and Master 7 at the Phnom Penh Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

  Abdul Hakim, who lists AFC Thailand referee Sivakorn Pa Udom as his inspiration, was also the fourth official in the group stage match between Yangon United and Ho Chi Minh City at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar the following month.

  Since receiving recognition by AFC and FIFA, the referee has boasted diverse and unmatched experience, harbouring hopes for aspiring referees in the country to also succeed in the regional and continental scene.

  Abdul Hakim said that the opportunity and benefit of being a referee is gaining experience, especially with a lot of insights that they can take from top peers in the region and being able to distinguish the standard of local and overseas football.

  Asked if he has any ambitions of refereeing other prestigious competitions, he said he has eyed more appointments at the AFC level with hopes of making it to the AFC Champions League or a FIFA World Cup, while participation in the Under-16 World Cup will also be much-welcomed.

  His compatriot Ali Faisal echoed his sentiments in a capacity as an assistant referee.

  In keeping with the demands and high standards of refereeing, both Abdul Hakim and Ali Faisal keep their fitness level in top condition, ready to be on the pitch at any moment.

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