What is the toughest part of your job?
Most definitely getting simulation (players diving to get another player cautioned / sent off or gain a penalty) and also recognising whether a tackle is a yellow card or red card. We have to practise with video clips whenever we can and we have to submit test results to our Fifa reps every month. This is how serious Fifa are about referees getting these decisions right.
What made you become a referee and what aspirations do you have?
I became a referee when I broke my leg and my dad encouraged me to take up the whistle. I first did it for fun as it was cool earning some good money on the weekends at the age 14, which paid my way to my other passion – golf! I was then noticed as having some talent and then in 1996 met my mentor David Elleray (ex-Premier League referee) where I went onto making it to where I am now.
My aspirations are to referee an Afcon and World Cup final but just going to the tournaments is enough as doing finals in any tournament requires a lot of fortune and good performances in really tough circumstances. However, if I had to stop refereeing tomorrow I would be happy with the fact that I was on the shortlist for 2014 and refereed at three Afcon tournaments, doing semi-finals in 2010 and 2012.
What makes the ultimate referee?
The best referee is the one that you never see when the game is at a low intensity and the players are behaving, yet can adapt to the environment when the intensity of the match steps up and the temperament of the players also rises. A top referee manages the game when it can be managed and is not the star of the show and always wanting to be in the limelight by killing the game or issuing cards all the time.
Read the first part of our interview with Daniel Bennett here.