PNG REFEREE TO OFFICIATE AT FIFA U20 WORLD CUP IN POLAND

"Just like players who hope to appear in a World Cup, the commitment for a match official is high if they want to be appointed, and get games expereince once they are there."

Papua New Guinea referee David Yereboinen has held a lifelong dream of being involved in a FIFA tournament and with his appointment to officiate at the 2019 FIFA U20 World Cup Poland, that dream has become a reality. 

Yereboinen will be joined by Tahiti-based referee Abdelkader Zitouni, Tonga’s assistant referee Folio Moeaki and Solomon Islands assistant referee Bernard Mutukera.  

For Yereboinen, getting to this point is the culmination of years of hard work in the relentless pursuit of a goal he has held since becoming a referee. 

“I’ve dreamed of being involved in football on the world stage ever since I decided to join refereeing,” he said.

“So it is a bit like a dream come true but it’s one that has become more realistic as time went on and the dreams shifted into goals. So it is a dream but it does feel realistic and like it’s the next logical step for me,” he added 

Yereboinen’s passion for refereeing was initially ignited when he saw his fellow PNG referee David Charles attend a FIFA U-17 men’s World Cup in Mexico in 2012. 

He decided to quit his full-time job with Air Niugini as a ground staff and first picked up a whistle as a 19 year old and also eventually giving up on playing to focus solely on refereeing.

“When I received the email,I was lost of words but I pray and thank the God almighty for the blessing, and to ask for his guidance and protection,” Yereboinen said. 

Just like with players who hope to appear in a World Cup, the commitment for a match official is high if they want to be appointment, and get games experience once they are there. 

Yereboinen said he has had to make a lot of sacrifices but it has all been worth it. 

“My journey to this FIFA U-20 World Cup has not been easy but Job Minan, Jimmy Warai and Papua New Guinea Football Association offered their support and assistance, so I wish to thank them for everything,” he stated. 

Yereboinen gets a huge amount of joy from refereeing and would love to see many other Papua New Guinean’s follow in his footsteps.

April 1, 2019