Dr. Waweru Kamaku is among the 12 referees given the mantle to officiate during the 21st edition of the U-20 Africa Cup of Nation (AFCON) to be held in Niger from February 2-17, 2019. This will be the biggest tournament the don of Pure and Applied Mathematics at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology will be officiating at continental level.
“I am very grateful and happy for the opportunity to preside over the U-20 AFCON tournament. It is my first huge tournament and it is an honour to be part of the 12 referees picked from across Africa,” said Dr. Kamaku.
Since March 2017, Dr. Kamaku has been officiating CAF Champions league matches, his latest match being between Ahli Benghazi of Libya and Nasr Athletic Hussein Dey of Algeria in Tunisia, January 11, 2019. He believes that the international experience gained from the CAF Champions league matches honed his skills and made it possible for the call-up by CAF to oversee the U-20 AFCON tournament.
“I am optimistic the experience gained from AFCON will propel me to the global level since the top four teams from the tournament qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup,” quipped Dr. Kamaku.
With two hats on his head; lecturer and referee; juggling class and football is a challenge the don says he takes in his stride. “I am glad I can use refereeing to decompress from lecturing and vice versa,” elucidated Dr. Kamaku.
Dr. Kamaku is known for his precision, calmness and justness when officiating a football match. Like many boys when growing up, Dr. Kamaku had a passion for all things sports. As a student at JKUAT, the now lecturer played for the University football team, while also doubling up as the JKUSO student leader in charge of sports, 2005.
Like many of us, Dr. Kamaku was not the most talented player, but his passion for football was still simmering. To keep abreast with football, in 2009 he joined Mathare Youth Sports Association and undertook a basic refereeing course. Five years later, he was voted the best referee in the Kenyan Premier League in 2014, a feat coveted by many referees in the country.
With the call-up, Dr. Kamaku’s dream of competing with the best in the world and officiating a world cup match is at the periphery.
“It has not been an easy journey. My first premier league game in 2013 between AFC Leopards and Chemelil was marked with hooliganism but at the end of it all, I smile and beam with joy when I look back at how far I have come,” he concludes.