Pretoria - An Uzbek referee from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Ravshan Irmatov, has been chosen to referee the opening match between Bafana Bafana and Mexico at Soccer City on Friday.
The FIFA Referee Committee said Irmatov has been refereeing international matches since 2003 and is the only Uzbek referee to have officiated in the finals of the FIFA tournament to date.
He is currently the AFC Referee of the Year and has received this award for the 2008 and 2009 season.
He has appeared three times at the FIFA U-17 World Cup (2003, 2007 and 2009), once at the FIFA U-20 World Cup and also at the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2008, where he not only handled the quarter-final meeting of Al Ahly and Pachuca, but also took charge of the Liga de Quito-Manchester United Final.
Irmatov's record in the top Asian tournaments includes a debut in the AFC Champions League in 2003 and in 2007, where he officiated at the finals of the tournament held in Japan, one of his biggest achievements to date.
He was also selected for the AFC Asian Cup in 2004 and directed eight Asian preliminary matches for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.
Rafael Ilyasov from Uzbekistan and Bahadyr Kochkorov from Kyrgyzstan will be the assistant referees for this game. The fourth official will be Subkhiddin Mohd Salleh from Malaysia. Kick-off is at 4pm.