Meet 16-year-old football referee Raphael.
He’s taking Zambian football by storm after refereeing a friendly match between professional sides Zesco United and Forest Rangers.
He has been refereeing matches since the age of 13.
Raphael told the BBC that at first he wanted to be player but an ankle injury he suffered three years ago stopped his plans and he turned to refereeing instead.
“My interest in being a referee started three years ago after I was asked to referee matches involving academy teams. One day, I was approached to be a referee for a social game involving old men and it’s like everyone noticed how good I was,” Raphael said.
“I am really enjoying this especially that I couldn’t continue being a footballer after I had an ankle injury.”
He says he’s happy that teams in Zambia’s top league can now call on him to referee friendly games and he hopes the Zambian FA can nurture him.
“I feel happy but when I make mistakes during a game, I lift myself up. It’s all part of the game. Every person makes mistakes,” he says.
“I was completely unfazed. Once I step on the pitch, I don’t look at my age or the big players. I am the man in charge! I want to be like Janny Sikazwe [Zambian FIFA referee] when I complete school.”
Raphael, who lives with his mother, wants to resume his education so that he can later concentrate on being a referee.
“My parents are no longer together and right now, I can’t even go to school because I don’t have books, a school uniform and other necessities,” he said.
Zesco United’s media officer Desmond Katongo told the BBC: “It is exciting to see a young boy with an ambition to become a referee at a time when many of his peers would have wanted to be Lionel Messi, Ronaldo or Enock Mwepu.”
“Referees can also be a great inspiration to many people like [Raphael]. It would be great if this boy received some formal training from the local FA. This is a potential success story for Zambia,” he added.