As many as four aspirants from Jharkhand have passed tests conducted by All India Football Federation (AIFF) last month to become national referees.
The four — Dinesh Soren, Suchit Toppo (both from Jamshedpur), Chunu Singh (Porahat) and Parmeshwar Gope (Hazaribagh) — cleared the last and final hurdle during the just concluded Under-19 I-League held in April.
Vice-president of the Jharkhand Referees’ Association (JRA) Binod Kumar Singh said Soren, Toppo, Singh and Gope, who had so far been conducting state-level events, had now become eligible to officiate in national-level tournaments.
“It is indeed a great achievement for Jharkhand. Now, we have 10 national-level referees at our disposal,” the former FIFA referee told The Telegraph.
The candidates had to go through preliminary rounds of screening — fitness and theory tests — in Gandhinagar of Gujarat in January to become eligible for the final round that comprised practical and viva held in Jharkhand.
They were judged during the preliminary and final rounds of the U-19 I-League. While Noamundi (West Singhbhum) hosted nine preliminary matches, Jamshedpur held three. The final round was played at JRD Tata Sports Complex and Keenan Stadium. In all, 24 matches were conducted during the U-19 I-League, which concluded on April 29.
According to the JRA vice-president, another aspirant from Dhanbad, Bajrang Chouhan, had cleared the fitness and the theory tests in Gandhinagar.
“But, he could not make the cut in the practical and viva segment,” he added.
Chunu Singh said it was a big leap for him, when asked about his dream that came true.
“I am thrilled to have cleared the final exams. I was confident after the tests in Gandhinagar. I had done very well there,” he said.
Toppo said the success in Gujarat encouraged him to give his best shot in the U-19 I-League. “My confidence level had increased after I returned from Gujarat. I was very focused while officiating the matches here,” he added.
In all, 24 candidates attended the practical and viva conducted by match commissioners Sumanta Kumar Ghosh (Bengal) and R.C. Nair (Kerala).
Apart from the four from Jharkhand, 18 others cleared the exams. The successful referees include Nasiruddin Laskar, Manisha Jana, Sandeep Maity, and William Koshy (all from Bengal). Also, Balajied Khongirem (Meghalaya), J. Jamal Mohammad, P. Vaira Muthu, and S. Vasanty (all from Tamil Nadu) have become national referees.