The Kurukuru from the Solomon Islands will not be the only representatives of Oceania at the FIFA Futsal World Cup, which is set to take place in Thailand during November.
Referees Amitesh Behari (Fiji) and Rex Kamusu (Solomon Islands) will also fly the flag for the Pacific at Thailand 2012 after being included on the list of match officials for the event.
Each of the world’s six confederations are represented on the 38-strong list and the inclusion of the Oceania pair is the latest success story of the region’s FIFA funded Refereeing Assistance Programme (RAP).
The programme aims to produce world-class match officials and is led by referee development officer Massimo Raveino.
“With the support of FIFA, we have developed a strong programme where match officials are provided a pathway to reach pinnacle events,” Raveino says.
Behari is no stronger to the tournament as he also took part in the previous FIFA Futsal World Cup in 2008 in Brazil but the experience will be a first for 28-year-old Kamusu, who joined Silas Leti as one of the first Solomon Islanders to officiate at a regional futsal meet when the pair controlled matches at the 2010 OFC championship.
The appoinment of Behari continues a run of international recognition for Fiji match officials as Ravinesh Kumar recently became the first person from his country to officiate at an Olympic Games and Finau Vulivuli earned a place at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany last year.
Behari has also followed in the footsteps of father Suresh, who was likewise a FIFA futsal referee and has proved an inspiration for his son.
The 32-year-old began refereeing competitive futsal matches in 1995 after witnessing his father in action and is delighted to be heading to another World Cup.
He has fond memories of his time at the previous tournament, particularly the 3-0 win by Spain, who went on to finish runners-up, over Libya.
“That is the best match I have ever refereed,” he says.
Solomon Islands earned the right to represent Oceania at the event after winning the 2011 OFC Futsal Championship in Fiji.
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