FIFA have released the names of the 36 central referees and 63 linesmen / match commissioners who will be officiating at the 2018 World Cup in Russia next June.
For the first time, six of those referees are from Africa, with Gambian Bakary Gassama the only to have participated at the World Cup finals.
Gassama appears to be the most experienced among the six, having taken charge of a FIFA World Cup group match between Netherland and Chili in 2014.
He was one of the referees at the 2012 Olympic Games, officiated the final of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, several CAF interclub competitions and recently the final of the 2018 African Nations Champions in Morocco.
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The 39-year-old was ranked by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) as the 13th best referee in the world in 2017.
The five others are Algerian Mehdi Abid Charef (37), Malang Diedhiou (44) from Senegal, Egyptian Ghead Grisha (42), Zambian Janny Sikazwe (38) and Ethiopian Bamlak Tessema Weyesa (38).
Out of the 63 linesmen / match commissioners 10 are from Africa, namely: Redouane Achik (Morocco), Waleed Ahmed (Sudan), Jean-Claude Birumushahu (Burundi), Djibril Camara and El Hadji Malick Samba (both from Senegal), Jerson Emiliano Dos Santos (Angola), Abdelhak Etchiali (Algeria), Anouar Hmila (Tunisia), Marwa Range (Kenya) and Zakhele Thusi Siwela (South Africa).
A two-week workshop will be organized for the officials in Italy end of April while another will hold in Moscow 10 days to the tournament.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup will take place between June 14 and July 15 in Russia. Five African teams will be taking part in the competition; they are Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt.