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How to become a World Cup referee

updated 9:29 AM EDT, Mon July 7, 2014
Australia's Tim Cahill appeals to the linesman after a disallowed goal during the Group B match between Chile and Australia at Arena Pantanal on June 13, 2014 in Cuiaba, Brazil.
Australia's Tim Cahill appeals to the linesman after a disallowed goal during the Group B match between Chile and Australia at Arena Pantanal on June 13, 2014 in Cuiaba, Brazil.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Aden Marwa is Kenya's first linesman to officiate at a World Cup
  • He reveals the levels of fitness referees must have in order to officiate at the highest level
  • When not on the pitch, he can often be focuses on technical training, match analysis
  • "Football is my life, football has made my life change a big deal," he tells CNN

Editor's note: African Voices is a weekly show that highlights Africa's most engaging personalities, exploring the lives and passions of people who rarely open themselves up to the camera. Follow the team on Twitter.

(CNN) -- Kenya's national football team may not have made it to the World Cup Finals in Brazil -- but one man will be there for his African nation.

Stepping into the role of representing Kenya is Aden Marwa, the country's first linesman to officiate at the beautiful game's biggest event.

"Football is my life, football has made my life change a big deal," Marwa tells CNN.

Like many a young boy, Marwa became obsessed with football, often walking vast distances so he could get to a TV to watch a match. Yet despite his passion for the game, he wanted nothing to do with refereeing and for good reason.

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"Those times it was hard because a match would hardly finish without a referee being beaten," he explains. "The fans were rowdy and you know, the facilities were not very good."

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"You were playing in open fields so the referee could be attacked anytime so when I could see that as a young boy, I didn't love it. So I was scared."

However, by the time Marwa became a linesman in 1998 at the age of 21, the game had changed dramatically as more resources and education had been funneled into the sport.

"Once you decide you want to become a football referee there are three pillars. One is your medical fitness, two is your physical fitness and then three, the technical fitness, so these can not be compromised."

READ: Tanzania's most decorated athlete

The challenge that we have as referees, the biggest one, is how to place yourself at the right position and the right moment to make that very important, crucial decision.
Aden Marwa, Kenyan referee

By 2006, the ambitious referee got his big break refereeing a game in the Kenyan Premier League before making his international debut as an assistant referee for FIFA just two years later.

Today he holds the accolade of "best assistant referee" in the Kenyan Premier League and his talent has taken him to sun-kissed shores of South America for the 2014 World Cup, where he has been performing as a reserve assistant referee.

The 37-year-old knows this will be the biggest test of his career so far and is prepared to have the eyes of millions of football fans scrutinizing his every decision.

"Referees have to make decisions in the shortest time possible. I see it once but you, on TV, will see it and see a replay and you can even pause with technology and even review," he says.

"As a referee I only have one angle to look at that ... so the challenge that we have as referees, the biggest one, is how to place yourself at the right position and the right moment to make that very important, crucial decision."

Check out the video below to find out how Marwa prepared for his greatest moment to date and earned his dream job officiating at this year's World Cup.

READ: Rwanda's first female pilot takes off

READ: Tanzania's most decorated athlete

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