Seychellois referee Bernard Camille will officiate his fifth Africa Cup of Nations football tournament in January, which he says will be his last international match as an official.
Camille, 46, has been a top referee in Seychelles for years and became an international referee in 2012. He normally would not have been selected since he is over the age limit for international referees.
“To be chosen despite my age is a huge compliment to my standing as a top official and it shows that I am still valued,” said Camille.
“Being an international referee at this age is very tough, and physically I feel I have done enough and now I will only officiate local games,” added Camille.
He said that as this will be the last time refereeing at the Afcon tournament, he aims to go as far as possible, although he recognised that he will be going up against referees of World Cup standard, so it will be tough.
Camille has refereed at the Africa Cup of Nations competition in 2013 in South Africa, 2015 in Equatorial Guinea, 2017 in Gabon and 2019 in Egypt.
The director of refereeing at the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Seychellois Eddy Maillet, said on the cafonline website that “the match officials were selected based on their experience, skills and current form. In recent months, they have been subjected to several aptitude tests through preparation courses and real competitive matches.”
“Only the best will officiate at this extraordinary event. The roster includes two referees from the Concacaf as part of our inter-confederation skills exchange programme,” he added.
Along with assistant referee James Emile, they are among 63 match officials selected by the Confederation of African Football to officiate at the Total Energies Africa Cup of Nations to be held in Cameroon.
Emile, 30, will be on assignment at the Afcon for the very first time, although has international experience after officiating at seven tournaments of the Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) Cup, Afcon Under-17, Afcon Under-23 and African Nations Championships (Chan).
The Africa Cup of Nations football tournament is scheduled to kick off on Sunday January 9 with the match between hosts Cameroon and Burkina Faso at the Olembe Stadium in Yaoundé.
The tournament final is scheduled on February 6.
The tournament was originally scheduled to be played in June and July 2021, but due to unfavourable climatic conditions during this period and the COVID-19 pandemic, CAF postponed the tournament to between January 9 and February 6, 2022.
Algeria are the defending champions after beating Senegal 1-0 in 2019.