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Kenyan ref guaranteed Sh2.5m at World Cup

Migori-based Fifa Assistant Referee Aden Marwa is sure to reap handsomely  in the one-month World Cup showpice set to take place between June 14 and July 15 in Russia.

Marwa will be featuring at the global tournament for the second successive time, having officiated in Brazil four years ago.

The soft-spoken 41-year-old will benefit massively from an increase in pay for referees after Fifa upped the scales for this year’s event.

Increased pay

In 2010 and 2014 World Cup bonanza, elite centre referees earned a maximum of $50,000 (Sh5 million) as a retainer plus another fee ranging between $2,000 and $2,500 (Sh200,000 and Sh250,000) per match but this year, that class is set to be paid $70,000 (Sh7 million) as retainer and $3,000 (Sh300,000) per match.

That is not where Marwa, is however. The Kenyan is among the linesmen in Russia and this group is set to be paid up to $25,000 (Sh2.5 million) as a retainer and another $2,000 (Sh200,000) for every match they officiate.

It is a prospect that has left Marwa excited although he had to endure a vigorous selection process that began in 2015.

“Being selected to join the officials in the World Cup was not an easy task because we had to undergo thorough medical tests to ensure we meet FIFA standards.

The second step is a fitness test before a physical exam. The third and most crucial step is the technical fitness and football knowledge. If you are successful, you are guaranteed a place at the World Cup,” said Marwa.

Hurdles on the way

Fifa tests were not the only hurdles Marwa faced in his journey to Russia as being a Mathematics and Chemistry teacher at Komotobo Secondary School in Kehancha, Kuria in Migori county, he had to give a good reason to his employer Teacher’s Service Commission why he will be away from class for one month.

It is an issue he does not wish to speak about only saying he had to do many trips from Migori to Nairobi in an effort to convince his bosses before he was cleared.

But whistling to the top has not been easy for Marwa. He fell in love with football at a tender age and after reaslising he could not play, took to refereeing various local matches before turning profession in 1998. His big break came in 2008 when he started officiating Kenyan Premier League matches and he has never looked back since.

Big tournaments

“Hard work, zeal and determination is what has kept me going to this date. It is not an easy task as it requires a lot of keenness to avoid mistakes which are costly not just in a game but also to a career,” adds Marwa.

This will not be the first Fifa-orgainsed tournament Marwa will be officiating. He took charge of the 2011 Under17 World Cup in Mexico and has also been a permanent fixture at Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournaments.

“This (Under 17 World Cup) was my first duty as a Fifa assistant referee and it was a humbling experience. We oversaw the first match professionally and earned the golden chance of officiating in the rest of the matches until the finals. To date, that tournament remains my most memorable,” says Mawrwa, who left for Russia on Saturday.

It is that experience that he will be counting on in Russia, hoping to take be in action this time having been more of a spectator in Brazil after his centre referee Daniel Bennett got an injury before their tie.

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