Guyanese officials get ‘FIFA badges’
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Guyanese officials Sherwin Johnson, Maurees Skeete and Kleon Lindey display their FIFA badges in the presence of GFF executive Dion Innis and president Wayne Forde.
Guyanese officials Sherwin Johnson, Maurees Skeete and Kleon Lindey display their FIFA badges in the presence of GFF executive Dion Innis and president Wayne Forde.

SHERWIN Johnson, Maurees Skeete and Kleon Lindey are now ready to officiate international matches this year, after the three Guyanese match officials received their FIFA badges at a ceremony at the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) on Friday.

President Wayne Forde. alongside GFF Executive Committee member and Interim Head of Refereeing Dion Inniss, made the presentation to the three officials. .

“I want to commend these three match officials that have been placed on the FIFA list,” Forde said, while noting that “they are a credit to Guyana football and to all of Guyana. We know they are going to go out there, do exceptionally well and make all of Guyana proud.”

Referees Johnson and Skeete and assistant referee Lindey were reappointed to FIFA’s list of international referees in December, giving them the right to wear the coveted FIFA badge and to take charge of international matches in 2021.

Skeete, a Staff Sergeant in the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), called 2020 a difficult year, but lauded her army life which she said has kept her “focussed and motivated and strong to continue to push forward. I am excited to get back on the field – to get out there and show my talents and to make Guyana, myself and my organisation proud.”

Johnson, in 2012 and Skeete in 2016, were nominated for CONCACAF’S Referee-of-the-Year award, while Lindey has featured in the selection since 2015.

“I’m looking to reach the highest pinnacle possible,” said Lindey, who last patrolled the touchline in CONCACAF U-20 Championship qualifiers in February 2020. “It’s currently very challenging, but I am just keeping my body fit because fitness is one of the key elements in refereeing.”

Johnson, who officiated the final of the GFF Bounce Back Classic tournament at the turn of the year, said he couldn’t wait “to get back to the pitch to referee and represent Guyana.”

Last year, GFF launched a referee recruitment campaign – ‘Get involved’ – to encourage more young people to train to become match officials.

According to Innis, “For the game to progress and to develop as we want to see it, the importance of high-class officiating cannot be overstated. We are on a path of upward trajectory. We have a plan in place to put refereeing back where it deserves to be.”

“The systems that have been put in place for training and development have quadrupled. I would invite any young girl and boy from the length and breadth of Guyana to show an interest in officiating. We look forward one day to seeing our match officials at a World Cup or Olympic match,” said Innis, who was also a former FIFA referee.

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