NAIROBI, June 5 (Xinhua) -- The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has picked two Kenyan referees, Peter Waweru and assistant referee Gilbert Cheruiyot in a 56-man provisional list to officiate at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), which starts in Egypt from June 21 to July 19.
Cheruiyot will make his debut too in the tournament after successfully graduating through the junior ranks.
Cheruiyot, 36, a FIFA accredited referee with CAF Elite 'A' rank to his name, was part of the 56 officials earlier appointed to officiate at the biggest football tournament on the continent alongside compatriot Peter Waweru.
"It's an honor for me and for Kenyan referees to have two of us going to Egypt," said Cheruiyot on Wednesday in Nairobi. "It is a challenge for me, which I want to take in my stride because it is the first time for me to be called to officiate at this higher level."
"Having two officials at this level shows that the image of Kenyan refs has been redeemed and we are happy that CAF has faith in us. There are countries without an official in the tournament and our inclusion is a sign that we are doing well as Kenyan referees," he added.
The towering official, who doubles up as a teacher, describes his recognition as a sign that the image of Kenyan officiating has been redeemed following last year's incident which saw experienced whistle-blower Aden Marwa handed a life ban over corruption allegations in the sport.
Marwa was regarded as one of the best officials in the current generation but was slapped with a lifetime ban by CAF months to last year's World Cup after an expose which captured him receiving monetary gifts from Ghanaian investigative journalist undercover as a football official of the Ghana Football Association, contrary to the code of conduct.
Cheruiyot also took part in the 2016 Africa Nations Championships (CHAN) in Rwanda.
Tunisia and Egypt have the highest number of center referees with three each while Morocco and Algeria have two.
Apart from Kenya, other East African countries with lead referees selected include Burundi, Sudan and Ethiopia. Uganda and Tanzania have missed out.
Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Senegal and Tunisia also have two assistant referees each in the provisional list.