By Sylvester Worwee
Abraham Fahnbulleh has been elevated to the level of Fifa assistant referee, nine years after he joined the Liberia Football Referee Association (LIFRA).
Fahnbulleh and seven others “knights of the whistle” received the prestigious FIFA badge on Saturday, December 31, 2016 at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium in Central Monrovia.
The Liberian match officials passed the mandatory “Cooper test”, an approved fitness test for international referees and will be included on the international panel for this year. Liberia’s roster for 2017 FIFA badge referees has three new comers; in assistant referees Abraham Fahnbulleh, Sekou Kanneh and center referee, Hassan Corneh. Veteran referees, Jerry Yekeh, Isaac Montgomery, George Rogers, assistant referees Elisha Johnson and Johnson Gbartea complete the listing. “Referees do not have good names, especially from the losing teams and fans.
“I want to use this opportunity to caution you [referees] to see yourselves as ambassadors and lead by example” Cllr. Joseph Kollie, President of Liberia Football Referee Association told the elite referees at the presentation ceremony.
No explanation was given by LIFRA for the omission of center referee Christopher Nylander, assistant referees Joseph Hoff and Francis Sannoh from the international list of referees.
Fahnbulleh, 28 kicked off his referee career in 2008, after he completed 10 months of tutorship under FIFA/CAF technical instructor Idrissa Kaba.
However, it wasn’t until 2009, before he featured in his first official match under the Sinkor Sub-committee of the Liberia Football Association.
Four years on, Fahnbullah began officiating First Division matches.
Prior to his promotion as National Referee (Class B) in 2013, the 28-year old officiated both as center and assistant referee in several Second Division and Third Division Play-off matches.
“My gratitude goes to the Liberia Football Association Referee Standing Committee and LIFRA for the nomination.
“Sincerely, this wouldn’t have been possible without their support,” the newly FIFA badge ref intoned.
Fahnbulleh first gained promotion as County Referee (Class C) in 2011, a year after he participated in the 2010 National County Sports Meet in Buchanan, Grand Bassa as a junior referee.
He has participated in several other top class matches including two FA Cup finals, one County Meet Third Place match, one President Cup match, one County Meet semifinal match, LFA District League final among others.
The elite assistant referee has also obtained certificates from numerous national and international training courses including, a high level Training Course for Non FIFA Referee in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in September, 2015.