Zambian referee ready for U20 adventure

Jan Sikazwe
Jan Sikazwe has now set his sights firmly on the 2018 World Cup in Russia

Zambian referee Jan Sikazwe will add another feather to his burgeoning reputation when he officiates at the Fifa under-20 World Cup.

The 37-year-old is one of 22 referees invited to control matches at the tournament which kicks off in South Korea on 20 May.

The other African referees in South Korea are Grisha Ghead of Egypt and Cameroonian Alioum Alioum.

The under-20 assignment continues a rapid rise up the ranks for Sikazwe, a school teacher from the small town of Kapiri Mposhi.

Is it more difficult to get to the top when you come from a small town?

"We don't have a single stadium Kapiri-Mposhi and referees train at a school but the pitch itself is not that good," Sikazwe told the BBC just before flying out to Seoul.

"When you go out in front of thousands of people, it's a new experience but you just have to be strong."

Sikazwe's career has been on an upward trajectory since officiating at the 2015 Fifa under-17 World Cup in Chile.

He followed that up by taking charge of the 2016 Fifa Club World Cup final between Real Madrid and Kashima Antlers of Japan.

His stock rose even further when he handled the final for this year's Africa Cup of Nations between Cameroon and Egypt in Gabon.

Sikazwe has now set his sights firmly on the 2018 World Cup in Russia where he is hoping to be named as an African representative.

"That's my ambition and I have to go for it. Yes, I've done the under-17 [World Cup], the Club World Cup and I'm now going for the under-20 [World Cup].

"But there are two Fifa competitions that I'm looking for - the World Cup itself and the Olympics."

Top Stories