Referee for opening game named

IIRMATOV Ravshan of Uzbekistan was yesterday appointed referee for the opening 2010 Fifa World Cup match between Bafana Bafana and Mexico at Soccer City on Friday.

IIRMATOV Ravshan of Uzbekistan was yesterday appointed referee for the opening 2010 Fifa World Cup match between Bafana Bafana and Mexico at Soccer City on Friday.

He will be assisted by Rafael Ilyasov (Uzbekistan) and Bakhadyr Kochkarov (Kyrgyzstan), with Subkhiddin Mohd Salleh (Malaysia) serving as fourth official.

The world governing body unveiled the referees and assistant referees who will handle all the 64 matches from Friday to July 11. They include the South African pair of Jerome Damon and Enock Molefe, pictured, whose team includes Celestin Ntagungira from Rwanda.

Damon and his team will handle the game between New Zealand and Slovakia at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Phokeng on June 15.

Irmatov, who is the reigning Asian Referee of the Year, will serve as fourth official during the New Zealand-Slovakia match.

Speaking to Sowetan after the match officials were unveiled by Fifa yesterday, Molefe said they were looking forward to making SA and the continent proud.

"It feels good to be part of this historic World Cup, especially for us because we are at home and are familiar with the soccer environment in South Africa. Some of us don't need to adjust to the set-up here, including getting used to the vuvuzelas. Most of my colleagues have been asking us questions about the vuvuzelas.

"This is going to be a great World Cup, so, as Africans we will always be under pressure, but we are ready to contribute to the success of the tournament."

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