In the world of soccer referees with Nasur Doka

In the world of soccer referees with Nasur Doka

In the world of soccer referees with Nasur Doka

In soccer, many professions accompany this popular sport with refereeing being one of the key components of a successful and entertaining game. At times, fans and stakeholders brush aside the crucial role played by the match officials apart from the frequent scolding and unprintable words thrown towards them in the event of poor calls.

In the past years, Kenya’s officiating has been met with negative criticism with some of these officials coming under heavy attack in hot fixtures such as that of Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards. However, it must be noted with recognizable appreciation the metamorphosis that has slowly crept into the profession of soccer officiating with positive steps achieved towards professionalizing the same to reduce the major errors and ugly incidents that have been witnessed in the past.

Today we seek to appreciate and understand the refereeing profession by spending time with Nasur Doka, one of the best referees in the Kenyan premier league.

For 13 years now, Nasur Doka has been striving to excel in the competitive and demanding field of soccer officiating and his constant training and willingness to achieve high and get recognition from his country as well as in the continent has started to take shape though after a decade  of struggle.

Nasur is counted among the group of many Nairobi citizens who have gone through a harsh childhood as he was brought up in the middle of the sprawling Kibera slums in Nairobi where his parents still stay to date.

He is married and has one daughter Shariffa Abdul.

Nasur is a certified public accountant by profession and works for an international accounting firm in Nairobi –The Burqa group of companies.

He is currently pursuing a bachelor of commerce degree with accounting option at the University of Nairobi.

Nasur started his training as a professional referee 13 years ago in 1998 with the lowest level as a class three certificate holder. Before moving to study for the second phase which is class two, one has to practice at his level for three years before getting a node to get the second class two certificate training.

This Nasur did diligently officiating matches in different lower division leagues across the country until 2001 when he got his class two certificate. At the class two level one must again practice for a period of between one to two years before qualifying to receive the Class one certificate which is the highest in ranking.

However, over the past six years Nasur has struggled to get the FIFA referee’s badge a feat only decided upon and awarded by FKL to six -class one referees -who have shown exemplary performance while carrying out their duty.

“It has been my dream to be given the FIFA badge but I guess I will remain patient and focused to offer my best in the league.” He said.

FIFA reserves only four slots for Kenya to nominate and forward a list of referees who shall be handed with the prestigious FIFA badge. This is done by the local soccer federation in this case FKL and includes, four center referees and six assistant referees for men and three center referees and three assistant referees for women.

Currently in Kenya some of the officials with the FIFA badge include: Sylvester Kirwa, Thomas Onyango, Davies Omweno and David Osano among others.

Having won awards as second best KPL referee in 2008 and 2010 respectively, during the FOYA awards, Nasur believes he is now ripe to receive the badge as  a FIFA referee but still maintains its is not his driving force.

“My ambition is to get the FIFA badge so I can manage to officiate in international matches like CECAFA and the African cup of nations. But I will take it slow as it comes if it will ever come at all.” He said.

Nasur reckons that refereeing needs a person who can comfortably manage to soak in a lot of pressure from the fans. According to him, every fan always pulls his ideas and thoughts of the decisions made by referees in favor of his team and whenever the official points the opposite direction, the other side’s fans go wild.

Among some of the hardest matches he has handled in the recent past include the Gor Mahia vs AFC Leopards first leg match in 2010.

“This was a hard match, especially being the biggest derby in the country and it always draws mixed reactions. Other matches that have put a lot of pressure in the past include the Sony Vs Gor Mahia match in Awendo and the KPL Super cup match between AFC Leopards and Sofapaka.Before the match, one needs a lot of psychological, physical and mental preparation because you take to the pitch because you never know what you will encounter during play irregardless of how professional you handle the match.” He says.

At the beginning of each season, KPL and FIFA conducts mandatory Cooper test and Doka managed to excel among the best scoring highly both in the theory and in the physical fitness test.


Nasur attributes the development of match officiating to KPL who he says have worked hard to salvage the profession from going to the dogs.

“The constant training we have been taken through by KPL to improve our standards deserves a lot of credit.KPL also reviewed our previously merger salaries and we are now proud to be associated with the league. The technology they have introduced in the electronic board and the ear piece communication devices is another step for the betterment of the game in Kenya. All these development by KPL rates Kenyan officiating as the best in the East and Central Africa region.”

It takes time before achieving high standards in soccer officiating and most of our officials in Kenya have other professional jobs they hold in society and I is good for us as fans to appreciate their efforts and determination to uplift the game.

Nasur admits that in some occasions poor judgment occurs even with highly ranked referees across the world.

“Handling a tough Kenyan fixture needs lot of courage and ability to soak in all sorts of words and pressure. We make mistakes as well at times but not deliberate because you could be blocked by a player or in a different angle so you fail to make the right judgment but that rarely happens especially in the current age where our officials are advanced in training and technology.” He said.

“Lastly I thank and congratulate KPL for the initiative they have taken to ensure they put back the days of glory in Kenyan soccer.KPL has taken Kenyan soccer to the next level and there is no more substandard so we have to work hard and maintain the integrity of our refereeing profession.”  Said Doka.

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