AFTER clinching the 2019/20 season Best Referee Award, Dar es Salaam based Ramadhan Kayoko disclosed that he switched off his phone after being picked to officiate Simba v Young Africans match.
Kayoko brilliantly managed the tense Azam Sports Federation Cup (ASFC) semifinals encounter between the traditional rivals Simba and Yanga in which the former won 4-1 to cruise into the finals.
Speaking on Friday night during the 2019/20 Vodacom Premier League (VPL) Awards presentation ceremony at Mlimani City, Kayoko said due to the pressure he had before the game, he decided to switch off his phone until the game was over.
"I was told just a day before the game that I will be in charge of the big match and instantly, pressure began to build up.
"My colleagues who have been in the game for a long time were singing to try to drive out the fear in me so that on the match day, I should be fine and with the help of God, I had a good game," Kayoko, who emotionally shed tears after receiving his Award said.
Queried where the pressure came from, he responded that it was his first big match in comparison with his age and that it was his first season to officiate in the top flight league.
"I then decided to switch off my phone prior to the game to avoid being driven out of the clash and afterwards when the game was over, upon switching it on, I found many congratulatory messages plus missed calls," the 25-year old referee remarked.
He also revealed that nobody from either Simba or Yanga accused him of bias after the match other than receiving many congratulatory comments. Moreover, Kayoko who officiated a total of 18 games last season narrated that he is now ready to take charge of any match even those organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
He managed to outclass his colleagues Ahmed Arajiga from Manyara and Abdallah Mwinyimkuu from Singida who also competed for the Best Referee Award.
However, last season, referees were highly criticised by pundits for many erroneous decisions they committed especially midway into the league season and most of the shortfalls were seen in interpreting offsides.