Soccer referee off to Mexico

Normal, Sports

The National, Friday, June 10th 2011

HARD work and perseverance have paid off for an assistant soccer referee from Papua New Guinea to officiate at a FIFA World Cup in Mexico this month.
He is David Charles, a 29-year-old man of Central and Milne Bay parentage, who left the country yesterday to join his other colleagues from Tahiti and New Zealand before leaving for Mexico.
Charles, who is the second referee from PNG, will be officiating at the Under 17 FIFA World Cup in Mexico starting next Saturday to July 10.
He took up the whistle in 2000 and started officiating in local matches organized by the Port Moresby, NCD Public Servants soccer and the National Soccer League competitions.
But it was a senior referee Hillary Ani, who inspired Charles to take up refereeing, after he was accorded a similar trip to the Caribbean – Trinada and Tobago –  to officiate at the U17 World Cup.
The PNG Football Association identified him for his performance and appointed him to attend a referees’ course at the football academy in Lae.
His commitment and perseverance paid off in 2008 when he was nominated by PNGFA to become a FIFA assistant referee and was successfully accepted by FIFA who issued him with a FIFA assistant referee badge.
Last October, he was appointed to attend the OFC/FIFA elite referees course in Auckland, New Zealand.
After the course he was nominated to attend the U17 FIFA qualifying tournament in January.
This year, Charles was invited by Oceania Football Confederation to officiate at the O-League grand final in New Zealand between Vanuatu’s Amicale FC and Auckland City FC in April.
After the O-League finals, the FIFA U20 was staged and Charles was requested to officiate as an assistant referee for the whole tournament.
The tournament attracted 11 member associations from the Oceania region.
PNGFA referee development officer, Job Minan said Charles had passed most of his fitness tests in PNG and New Zealand and deserved the trip to Mexico.
However, Minan said he wanted to see Charles prove that he could handle the task out there.