FOOTBALL Somalia’s own Omar Abdulkadir Artan makes history at the Africa Cup of Nations

Somali referee Omar Abdulkadir Artan makes history as the first from his country to officiate in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Omar Abdulkadir Artan achieved a historic milestone on Tuesday night as he became the first Somali referee to officiate in the prestigious Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

His debut on the continental stage came during the high-stakes Group E opener between Tunisia and Namibia, marking a significant moment not only for him but for Somalia’s presence in international football.

The 30-year-old , renowned for his sharp decision-making and authoritative control on the field, has rapidly ascended the ranks of African football referees.

Since his commencement in CAF games in 2020, he has developed a reputation as one of Africa’s finest young referees.

The match between Tunisia and Namibia, which saw Namibia winger Deon Hotto scoring the only goal in the 88th minute, was not just a display of football prowess but also of exceptional officiating.

Artan, with his keen eye and fair judgment, ensured a smooth and just game, upholding the spirit of sportsmanship throughout the match.

Artan was ably assisted by Kenyan referees Gilbert Cheruiyot and Stephen Yiembe as his first and second assistant referees, respectively.

The victory for Namibia was a historic moment, marking their first-ever win in a Cup of Nations final.

Despite the narrow margin, Namibia’s performance was commendable, with the only shortfall being their decision-making in crucial moments of the game.

Artan’s role in this significant match was crucial, ensuring fairness and maintaining the flow of the game, thus contributing to the excitement and unpredictability that define football.

The Africa Cup of Nations this year sees a total of 68 referees, assistant referees, and video referees, a clear indication of the increasing professionalization and sophistication of football officiating on the continent.

Kenya’s representation in the tournament is notably strong, with Peter Waweru Kamaku, Gilbert Cheruiyot, and Yiembe Stephen playing pivotal roles.

Kamaku notably served as assistant Video Assistant Referee in the match between Equatorial Guinea and Guinea-Bissau.

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