Referees ● Jan 10, 2015

Referees Taqi And Goh Fly Singapore’s Flag At Asian Cup


SINGAPORE – The Lions may not be playing at the Asian Cup Finals that is currently being held in Melbourne, Australia. But the Republic’s football flag will still be proudly flown by two Singaporeans, referees Muhammad Taqi and Jeffrey Goh.

Taqi, 29, is considered as one of Singapore’s brightest young refereeing talents. The Asian Cup finals will be his biggest international tournament to date. Meanwhile, 43-year-old veteran Goh’s selection means that he will be officiating in his second Asian Cup Finals. He also represented Singapore at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.

K. Visva Nathan, who heads the Referees’ Department at the Football Association of Singapore, said that the Asian Football Confederation’s selection of Taqi and Goh is an honour for Singapore refereeing.

“It speaks well of the standard of refereeing in Singapore and to be selected by the AFC is a recognition of their abilities,” said the former assistant referee who had officiated at the 2002 World Cup Finals.

“I am sure the Asian Cup, which is a very high level of competition, will provide the platform for the two of them to improve themselves further.”

Both Taqi and Goh have been selected as the fourth official and the reserve assistant referee respectively for Saturday’s game between Saudi Arabia and China.

Taqi is clearly feeling excited about his upcoming Asian Cup assignments.

“I am really fortunate to be here as I did not have any expectation in the first place to be selected among with the top referees in Asia to officiate at the region’s biggest and prestigious tournament,” said the former club youth footballer.

“This tournament definitely is an eye opener for me as we are together with the referees from Asia who went to the World Cup Finals last year. The bonus for me is that they have been generously sharing their experiences during training. It is a big learning experience for me.

It’s going to be challenging to officiate at this level, but AFC’s selection of this group of referees means that it has faith, trust and belief with our officiating at the top level. It is an honour to be part of this group and I am really looking forward to the tournament kick-off.”

Goh may be a veteran official but he is still looking forward to the opportunity to improve his refereeing knowledge and skills in Melbourne, and subsequently, to share his new knowledge with local referees when he returns.

“Every tournament is a different and new learning experience, and there are always some changes in the laws every year,” he explained.

“As a referee, it means that we have to prepare ourselves and update and interpret the new laws correctly.

“My aim is to learn from the Asian referees who went to last year’s World Cup Finals in Brazil. Their knowledge is the most up to date. On the field, my objective is to support my referee and share my experiences to him so that he is more confident of officiating the matches.”

Visva Nathan feels that the experience and the exposure that both Taqi and Goh will receive in Australia will be good for their careers.

“Jeffrey is the more experienced one of the two but he also needs constant international exposure so that he can constantly improve.

“Although he and Taqi are in the reserve list of match referees, I am sure they will be given other assignments too.

“Finally, this is a big step forward for Taqi. He is still young and he has the potential to go far. I hope he will achieve his dreams, like all referees do, that is to officiate at the World Cup.”