Srinagar: Two football referees from Kashmir have passed the All India Football Federation (AIFF) Cat 2 Referees’ Upgradation Exam after more than 25 years.
Abid Yaqoob and Tanveer Ahmad Wani are the first two referees from Kashmir to pass this test and be qualified to officiate in any National level football games in more than 25 years.
Tanveer and Abid Yaqoob, both from Srinagar, have been involved with football since a very young age. Both players have moved into coaching and refereeing after ceasing to be active players.
However, in refereeing, they have achieved bigger success than the coaching and recently qualified AIFF’s Cat 2 Referees examination that makes them eligible to officiate National level matches. Cat 2 Referee examination is the second-best referee level in the Country and after it, there is only Cat 1 level. Previously they have qualified Cat 5, 4 and 3 levels.
“AIFF CAT 2 Referees are eligible to officiate all national-level matches. The referee needs again to be active in their state for 365 days as a CAT-3 Referee or assistant referee and must officiate at least 30 matches in their top level of the state league matches before the state nominates an individual for CAT-2 Exam to be conducted by AIFF,” said Abid.
“The referees again need to undergo all the four stages and these all need to be cleared to become CAT-2 Referee (Fitness Test - Theory Exam - Viva OC - Practical),” he said.
Abid said that it is not easy to qualify all the levels and come out as successful in Cat 2 examination.
“We were four from J&K who qualified in the initial stage and then in the next stage were three. However, in the final list only I and Tanveer qualified for the examination. To make this possible one has to work hard both on and off the field. Apart from that one has to keep fitness levels at the top level,” Abid said.
He said that they both are confident that they would be provided with enough opportunity by AIFF to officiate at the National level and be eligible for the top-level Referee examination.
“We have to keep working hard and set short-term goals. The initial goal is to start officiating National level matches and perform well. It is not every day that one reaches this level. It took more than 25 years for someone from Kashmir to qualify for Cat 2 level,” Abid said.
Meanwhile, J&K Football Association (JKFA) officials said that they are working on making more and more referees qualify for AIFF referee courses.
“Unlike past when focus used to be only on players and coaches, we have also been laying equal emphases on referees. For that reason, we have been encouraging our young professionals to venture into the referee field as well. Slowly and steadily we are achieving success in that and the achievement of Abid and Tanveer is part of that process,” said a JKFA official.
“This season again we will recommend referees for various AIFF courses and hopefully many more would be able to qualify for higher levels or achieve similar results. However, it is not easy to qualify such levels with Abid and Tanveer only ones from the previous group to make the final cut,” the official added.