Brunei Darussalam refereeing marked a new milestone after two internationally-certified local referees were selected as part of the officiating team in the group stage of an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup tie in Hong Kong last Wednesday.
Brunei top referee Abdul Hakim bin Mohd Haidi was assigned as fourth official while Ali Faisal bin Rosli was named as an assistant referee in the Group ‘J’ match between Tainan City FC and Athletic 220 FC at the Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground.
The duo agreed that their foray in a prestigious competition will help boost morale to local referees in pursuing the career.
Abdul Hakim and Ali Faisal both said, “We’re happy and proud to be given such a big responsibility. We believe this appointment will give morale to our local referees and they will want to grab the opportunity.”
The duo was also joined by Syrian referee Feras Taweel and assistant referee Rami Taan.
Abdul Hakim is a FIFA-certified referee and an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Elite Referee while Ali Faisal is a FIFA-certified assistant referee and an AFC Elite Assistant Referee.
The AFC Cup group match represents Abdul Hakim’s biggest assignment in the international scene after the University World Cup football tournament in China in 2019.
Abdul Hakim was appointed as a fourth official in the cancelled 2020 edition in a Group ‘H’ match between Myanmar’s Shan United FC and Philippines’ Kaya FC-Iloilo at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar in February 2020.
In January that year, Abdul Hakim was assigned as a fourth official in the first leg of the playoff round between Cambodia’s Svay Rieng and Laos’ Master 7.
The 31-year old has also taken the role of fourth official in the Asian Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup in Laos in 2018 and the AFF Under-22 Championship in Cambodia in 2019 among other international assignments.
The pair is scheduled to return home on July 6 after completing their continental commitments in the AFC-sanctioned tournament.
Hong Kong are currently hosting centralised Group ‘J’ matches from June 23 to June 29, with the Hong Kong Stadium also used as the other venue.
The other teams in the group are Lee Man and Eastern, both teams which compete in the Hong Kong Premier League domestically.