Football: Can 2012-Maillet, Damoo happy with performances


Damoo (first right) and Maillet (second right) alongside Seychellois officials Hensley Petrousse and Jean-Claude Labrosse in a previous match involving Samuel Etoo’s Cameroon

If assistant referee Damoo was making his debut in the Can, for Maillet it was his fifth appearance in a row and surely his last in the tournament won by surprise team Zambia for the first time on a penalty shootout – 8-7 – against favourites Ivory Coast boasting star players like Didier Drogba, Kolo Touré, Yaya Touré and Gervinho.

Selected by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) following their exploits at the Caf Elite Referees Fitness test held in Cairo, Egypt last December, Damoo and Maillet were involved in 10 matches between them.

Before leaving for the three-week competition co-hosted by Guinea Equatorial and Gabon, Maillet said he wanted to take charge of the final as he is reaching retirement age – 45 – as a Fédération internationale de Football Association (Fifa) referee later this year.

Although he has not been able to live his dream, Maillet is still happy he was involved in the tournament, refereeing two games and working as the fourth official in three others including the final.

“It’s true I wanted to do the final. I’m a bit disappointed for not getting the chance to referee the final, but I understand that there can be just one man in charge of a final. Otherwise, I’m very happy with my performance at the tournament,” added Maillet who made his international debut at home in the African Under-17 Championship Seychelles hosted in 2001.

Senegalese Badara Diatta was chosen to referee the final and the assistant referees were Evarist Mekouande from Cameroon and Tunisian Bechir Hassani. Both Mekouande and Hassani were a part of Maillet’s team for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Maillet officiated at the Can for the first time in 2004 in Tunisia and was in charge of two group matches. In Egypt in 2006, he took charge of two group matches, refereed the quarterfinal encounter between defending champions Tunisia and Nigeria and was chosen as the fourth official for the final between hosts Egypt and Ivory Coast.

In Accra, Ghana in 2008, he took charge of three matches. He was named as centre referee for the opening game between hosts Ghana and Guinea and also took charge of the semifinal between Egypt and Ivory Coast. He was twice chosen as fourth official, and one of those matches was the final between Egypt and Cameroon.

In 2010 in Angola, Maillet took charge of a group match and refereed the quarterfinal between Algeria and Ivory Coast.

After being chosen as the second assistant referee in the tournament’s opening match between Equatorial Guinea and Libya, Damoo was the first assistant in four other games – Sudan v Burkina Faso, Morocco v Senegal (group matches), Zambia v Sudan (quarterfinal) and Ivory Coast v Mali (semifinal).

“It’s been an interesting and good experience and I’m happy I’ve managed to do well,” said Damoo.

Ranked among the top assistant referees in Africa, the 36-year-old has been a Fifa official for 10 years and did not want to say much about his future plans.

“I prefer not to say much as it has taken me many years to build my career and I don’t want it to go up in fumes,” he said.

Speaking about the Zambia side who won the tournament, Damoo said: “They’re a good team with some quality and fast players. I think they had a lot of luck on their side.”
G. G.

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