The football scene in Zambia might not be well-known as the one in England or many other top European nations that have competitive leagues, however the small African country might have done something no other league has.
Raphael is a 16-year-old boy and is a football referee for a number of men’s fixtures that take place in the country.
Admittedly, it is only for friendlies at the moment, however it takes some ability – and guts – to be the man in the middle with the power, especially when they are the first person many turn to when hurling abuse or shouting at decisions that have been made. We know everyone can get angry but when using the Norwegian allvideoslots website, that anger will quickly disappear.
However, he is three years into his referring career after having started at 13 and appears to be well-liked by many professional teams up and down the country.
Of course, Raphael did not grow up wanting to be a referee, as he had dreams like all of us of being a footballer, but an injury stopped him in his tracks like so many of us and he has since decided to try and make a way in the game via a different approach.
When speaking to the BBC’s Newsround, the teenager revealed all.
“My interest in being a referee started three years ago after I was asked to referee matches involving academy teams. One day, I was approached to be a referee for a social game involving old men and it’s like everyone noticed how good I was,” Raphael said.
“I am really enjoying this especially that I couldn’t continue being a footballer after I had an ankle injury.
“I feel happy but when I make mistakes during a game, I lift myself up. It’s all part of the game. Every person makes mistakes.
“I was completely unfazed. Once I step on the pitch, I don’t look at my age or the big players. I am the man in charge! I want to be like Janny Sikazwe [Zambian FIFA referee] when I complete school.”
Unsurprisingly, Raphael still lives with his mother but he has his feet on the ground and is determined to resume his education before continuing to concentrate on being a referee.
Zesco United’s media officer Desmond Katongo told the BBC: “It is exciting to see a young boy with an ambition to become a referee at a time when many of his peers would have wanted to be Lionel Messi, Ronaldo or Enock Mwepu.”
“Referees can also be a great inspiration to many people like [Raphael]. It would be great if this boy received some formal training from the local FA. This is a potential success story for Zambia,” he added.
Good luck to Raphael in the future and perhaps we will all see him refereeing at a FIFA World Cup in the future? Who knows.
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