Merville Wallace earned the popular vote of his peers to walk away with the ‘Memorial Ashworth Mc Kenzie Referee of the Year’ award as the Tobago Football Referees Association held its Annual Awards Function and Dinner at the Public Utilities and Infrastructure Conference Room, Shaw Park.
Wallace, who has been officiating in the TT Pro League and Super League, was inexplicably overlooked for FIFA appointment even after he was recommended by the Refereeing Department of Trinidad and Tobago. From all reports, he is one of the more outstanding referees at the highest level of national football.
For the first time in the history of the organisation, a female, Julieann Mc Dougall copped the ‘Assistant Referee of the Year’ award getting the better of two other outstanding performers, Kelon Webster and Lynk Davis.
Fourteen-year-old Omari Edwards, already tipped to possess the potential to reach the highest level, got the nod over two other new-comers, Soren Bishop and Keon Orr to win the ‘Emerging Match Official of the Year’.
There was a keen tussle among Gedes John, Leston Romeo and Ashton Benjamin in the race for the ‘Most Improved Match Official’. In the end Benjamin prevailed over his counterparts to win the award.
Evergreen Sidney “Sparrow” Daniel was presented with a Long Service Award for his more than 44 years of service in the field of refereeing. Sparrow, who got his alias because of his love for the calypso icon, Slinger Francisco’s (the Mighty Sparrow) music, had his early ambitions to become a jockey dashed when he was deemed overweight and he then focused his attention on football. His career as a referee took him as far as Grenada where he was referred to as “Southee”
Feature speaker, Honourable Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly, Orville London stated that all of Tobago should feel justly proud of the accomplishments of the two recently appointed FIFA officials in Keon Yorke and Tricia Des Vignes. He re-iterated that their achievements are a testimony to what can be achieved if we make the commitment.
“Coming from a small island state is no excuse for not aspiring to achieve the highest standard,” he reminded the large gathering. “Remember the benchmark at that level are the highest international standards,” he reminded the newly appointees.
Also in attendance was the Head of the National Referees Department, Ramesh Ramdhan and the Chairman of the National Referees Committee, Brian Layne, along with a host of national referee instructors.
Most Achieved Match Official – Keon Yorke
Best Recruit – Soren Bishop
Willingness Award – Ashton Benjamin