Kenyan referee Gilbert Cheruiyot named for key role in high-stakes AFCON semifinal


FOOTBALL Kenyan referee Gilbert Cheruiyot named for key role in high-stakes AFCON semifinal

Festus Chuma 11:00 - 07.02.2024

Kenyan referee Gilbert Cheruiyot prepares for a crucial role in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations semifinal in Abidjan.

Kenyan referee Gilbert Cheruiyot is set to play a vital role in the upcoming 2023 Africa Cup of Nations second semifinal slated for Wednesday, February 7, 2024, at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan.

Cheruiyot has been named as the Reserve Assistant Referee for the highly anticipated match between host Ivory Coast and DR Congo that will kick off at 11 pm East Africa Time.

According to information released by CAF, Libya's Ibrahim Mutaz A. Ibrahim will take center stage as the Centre Referee, supported by a team of experienced officials.

Tunisia's Hassani Khalil will serve as the first Assistant Referee, while Djibouti's Liban Abdoulrazack steps in as the second Assistant Referee.

The Fourth Official role is held by Bouh Abdel Aziz from Mauritania.

Additionally, a milestone is set with Mauritius' Maria Pakuita Cinquela taking the position of Video Assistant Referee, a significant achievement in the promotion of gender diversity in football officiating.

Assisting her in the VAR booth are Egypt's Mahmoud Mohamed Ashour H and Sudan's Ibrahim Abdallah Mohamed, serving as the first and second Assistant Video Assistant Referees, respectively.

Cheruiyot's role as a Reserve Assistant Referee is pivotal as it involves the possibility of replacing any assistant referee, fourth official, or additional assistant referee who cannot continue for any reason.

Moreover, his responsibilities extend to assisting the referee similarly to other on-field match officials, ensuring a smooth and fair conduct of the game.

The matchup between Cote d’Ivoire (the Elephants) and DR Congo (the Leopards) is steeped in history, with their first encounter dating back to 1960.

Out of their 15 previous meetings, the Elephants have emerged victorious six times, compared to the Leopards' four wins, while five matches have ended in draws.

Their most recent encounter was a goalless draw during the African Nations Championship group stage in January 2023 in Annaba. 

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