Kenyan referee officiates AFCON tie pitting Gabon and Comoros

Kenyan centre referee Dr Peter Waweru officiated Africa Cup of Nations match between debutants Comoros and Gabon in their Group C opener at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, in the capital city of Yaounde in Cameroon.

The University lecturer at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology is among the 63 match officials who will preside over the continental showpiece from January 9 to February 6.

Waweru, who has a doctoral degree in Pure Mathematics began his continental journey in 2015 when he officiated at the Caf Under-17 tournament in Niger before heading to Rwanda the following year for the 2016 Africa Nations Championships (CHAN).

He was assisted by compatriot Gilbert Cheruiyot, who is a Fifa accredited referee, having worked his way up to become one of the most respected match officials in the continent.

Cheruiyot chose football instead of athletics, going against the norm in his community, something that did not go down well with his parents who insisted he should focus on his education or try athletics.

“Since 2008, I have developed from the lowest ranks through to the Kenyan Premier league and Confederation of African Football (Caf) matches.

“My community considers playing football a waste of time. And I could receive a beating from my parents whenever they saw me play with my peers,” said Cheruiyot.

Comoros was making history on Monday as they took to the pitch for the first time ever at the Africa Cup of Nations while Gabon, on the other hand, are making their eighth appearance at the competition and will be looking to progress into the knockout stages for the first time since 2012.

The Central African sporting extravaganza will also see female match officials in charge in a ground-breaking achievement.

The female quartet of Salima Mukasanga (Rwanda), Carine Atemzabong (Cameroon), Fatiha Jermoumi (Morocco) and Bouchra Karboubi (Morocco) continue their trailblazing achievements.

They officiated at the Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations in 2019 and also at the African Nations Championship 2020 (CHAN).


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