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Sports Features of Thursday, 18 February 2016


Top five referees for the Ghana Premier League

Joseph Lamptey

English football researcher Alan Lewis once said: “Coaches do so much research about a referee because they believe refereeing is such a crucial part of the game that the result may hinge on what we say or do. They probably know more about me than I know myself!”

The quote above stresses the relevance of the centermen in the game of football and as the season zooms off on Sunday, takes a look at the top referees in our game.

Many referees have always made the headlines but the following five referees are surely the newsmakers when mention is made of the Ghanaian game.

Four of these referees are FIFA Referees with only one Class One Referee:

Joseph Lamptey [FIFA]

FIFA Referee Joseph Lamptey has always been available to raise the flag of Ghana high when the need arises. He was the only Ghanaian referee who was selected by FIFA in 2015 to represent at the World Youth Championship in New Zealand after officiating at the African Youth Championship in Senegal. He officiated many matches on the African terrain in the CAF Champions League last season. J.O. Lamptey was always the last resort when there are difficult and dicey matches in the local league. With his pedigree and track record as a FIFA referee, J.O. Lamptey will obviously be called upon when the season finally kicks off.

Seidu Bomison [FIFA]

Referee Seidu Bomison was at the center of controversy when New Edubiase United clashed with Accra Hearts of Oak in the league last season. His performance on the local scene fetched him the accolade as the best referee at the end of the 2014/15 Ghana Premier League season by the Premier League Board. The Wa-based referee has always risen to the occasion when the going gets tough. A lot will surely be expected from the current best Ghanaian referee and obviously, he is one of the top-notch arbiters of the game.

William Agbovi Jnr [FIFA]

Born in Suhum to William Agbovi Snr, the refereeing genes were transferred to William Agbovi Jnr who has risen to become one of the finest referees on the local scene. After winning the best Ghanaian referee on a record three consecutive times, the Computer Science tutor at the Suhum Senior High School needs no introduction as one of the best interpreters of the laws of the game on the field of play.

Agbovi Jnr emerged runner-up to Seidu Bomison in the 2015 Premier League best referee category. Agbovi Jnr won the best referee from 2012 and 2013 through to 2014 before surrendering it to Wa-based Seidu Bomison. With the likes of William Agbovi Jnr on the local scene, Ghana is surely blessed when it comes to having the best in the center of the game.

Cecil Fletcher [FIFA]

Referee Cecil Fletcher has been a household name on the local scene when it comes to refereeing since grandma was still a virgin. Cecil Fletcher is one of the FIFA referees in Ghana who has made the interpretation of the laws very vivid and clear. Upon whistling for an infringement, every player moves back instead of challenging the decision. He is called the ‘Silent Killer’ by most of the players. Speaking to one player at the end of last season on the most difficult referees he has ever met, he did not hesitate to mention Cecil Fletcher. The player went on to say ‘He smiles while showing you a card.” The Takoradi-based centerman has carved a nitch for himself such that the mere mention of his name puts fear in players.

Amenya [Class One]

The only Class One Referee in the list has eventually appeared; J.A. Amenya.

The Accra-based referee might not be a top class referee but his exploits in the local league surely move him closer to his seniors, the FIFA referees. To many a local sports journalist, Amenya is one of the referees who needs encouragement from the Ghana FA and for that matter the Premier League Board. He officiated seven matches lasts season and was 4th referee on four occasions. In terms of the accurate and vivid interpretations of the rules of the game, Amenya is one of the best on the local scene despite being class one.

Although there are other top referees on the local scene, these are obviously the men for the greatest challenges.

Do not be surprised when any of these men are appointed to officiate the most controversial matches in the league.