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Interview with International Futsal Referee
Tuesday, 06 May 2008 00:00

INTERVIEW WITH ASSELAM KHAN, International FUTSAL REFEREE “The major difference is that in futsal, there is more contact” Khan 

  INTERVIEW WITH ASSELAM KHAN, FUTSAL REFEREE “The major difference is that in futsal, there is more contact” Khan 

Can you briefly, introduce yourself?

My name is Asselam Khan, 41 years of age from Mozambique. I’m married with four children including a son. I am from Maputo, but now live in Nampula, 2000 km north of Mozambique.

How did you get into fustal refereeing ?

I started as a football referee till 1994, when I sustained a knee injury, and had surgery three years later in South Africa. My return was very slow at that time futsal was fast spreading around some parts of Africa. Myself, Inacio Sambo (current coach of Mozambique Futsal team) and one official started futsal in Mozambique in 1998.
There was no referee at that time, so with my experience as a former football referee, they called on me to assist with the officiating.I have been FIFA Futsal for sometime now, officiated at the last World Cup FIFA Futsal World Cup in China in 2004 and I  was at the helm during the Brazil-Hungary game.I was also the third referee for the final game involving Spain and Italy. 

What makes futsal different from football?

The major difference is that in futsal, there is more contact; hence two referees to cover small distances. The futsal referee must also be very fit, like in football, but coordination between the referees is key.

Is it that challenging?

It is very challenging and demanding. Sometimes, one referee will have to make-up for the mistakes of his colleagues.Futsal is played 20 minutes in each half, and five minutes each of extra time. Whenever the ball in is play, the clock runs and vice versa.The game is just 20 minutes but sometimes you end up playing about more time, timekeeping is very critical in futsal.

What’s a foul in futsal?

It’s   virtually the  same as  football, but the only difference is sliding. In futsal, when you slide without touching another player, it is not a foul, and an indirect free-kick is a penalty. When a player kicks, pushes or pulls the jersey of another player, it is a penalty.

How would you rate the performance of referees during 4th African Futsal Championships?

I would say it was okay, but there is room for improvement. Futsal is gradually growing in Africa and the referees must be abreast with the rules of the game in future competitions. Experience is a major concern, and the referees must take part in competitions to keep them abreast with the laws of the game.
Most of the referees have been in the game for about one or two years, and I think the younger referees need a lot of competitions to keep them in shape. Nine years as a FIFA Futsal referee, I have handled about 30 matches; that’s a standard in Africa. I am 41 years, in three years time, I would be no more and there is the need for younger referees to be encouraged in the game. 

How is futsal faring in Africa?

Futsal is developing at a fast rate in Africa. In Mozambique, it is very popular as it is played in all the provinces. But most Football federations, don’t devote much attention and resources to futsal. I have always insisted that if futsal is given one-tenth of support given to football in Mozambique, we would have been at the World Cup by now.
It is same in some other countries, as little or no concern is given to Futsal. 

Does futsal has a bright future in Africa?

The future is bright but there is the need for more competitions. I suggest that the Futsal championships be held every two years like the Africa Cup of Nations. Also, the teams must engage in competitions often to keep them in shape, and the referees too same.
To the referees, who participated at the just ended championships, I urged them to go home and educate younger ones and their colleagues on the new trends of the game.With this, I believe we can have about 50 percent of match officials being abreast with the laws of the game at the next Championships.  

What has been the toughest game you have handled as a futsal referee?

But the biggest game I have handled is in Mozambique, involving the two top teams, Liga Muslimana and Desportivo. These teams are always in the final, and it is a difficult game to officiate coupled with the fact the fans also know the laws of the game very well.