Three Caribbean Assistant Referees appointed to FIFA World Cup Qatar

Published on 23 May 2022

Helpys Feliz (picture above) along with Caleb Wales and Zachary Zeegelar are amongst 69 assistant referees appointed to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (May 23, 2022)—proud to represent the Caribbean is the overriding sentiment expressed by the three regional assistant referees appointed to FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

Helpys Feliz (Dominican Republic), Caleb Wales (Trinidad and Tobago) and Zachary Zeegelar (Suriname) are the three Caribbean standard-bearers amongst 69 assistant referees, 30 referees and 24 video match officials FIFA announced on May 19.

The FIFA release notes “selected match officials represent the highest level of refereeing worldwide.”

For Feliz, the appointment is at once exhilarating and humbling.

“I was sleeping, and when I woke up and saw all the message notifications, I thought something happened. When I saw the FIFA list, I immediately fell on my knees and thanked God because He has worked in a special way in my life,” Feliz told the CFU.

“For me, it is an honor and, above all, a privilege to be chosen to represent the Caribbean in such a prestigious event. I am the first referee from the Dominican Republic to be chosen for that stage and that means that I must work much hard to meet the expectations raised while maintaining humility above all else. Thanks to God, to my family for their support, to my federation and especially to Conacaf Refereeing Department for allowing me to do what I love the most—refereeing,” Feliz added.

Zachary Zeegelar of Suriname

Zeegelar was circumspect, saying, “I will always represent the region with pride.” Wales, too, was grateful.

CFU President Randolph Harris congratulated the three men last week, acknowledging the hard work and tenacity that brought them to this moment. “We are elated for you that your efforts continue to reap rewards,” he wrote.

“You serve as inspiration for Caribbean referees, proving that ambitions are attainable,” President Harris added.

Dave Meikle, Refereeing Manager Concacaf, saluted the trio, commending their unrelenting work ethic—both Wales and Zeegelar, who officiated in last year’s Gold Cup, left their countries where the pandemic put paid to competitions to bunk with relatives stateside and officiate in low-level games to maintain their performance. He also commended Feliz’s dedication and drive. 

“It is a natural progression,” Meikle said of Wales, considered Concacafs best assistant referee, Zeegelar who officiated in the Olympics earlier this year, and Feliz, who has amongst other competitions, a U20 World Cup to his name. “It is no coincidence that these three caught the eyes of the selectors.”

Caleb Wales of Trinidad & Tobago

“It is a very significant achievement to have three Caribbean match officials representing us at the World Cup. The Caribbean is usually at a distinct disadvantage in that the level of football that we play here is not as professional as other countries in North America and Central America, so it is significant that we can produce three World Cup match officials. It means that we have the talent within our midst and once we provide the necessary support and professional environment, our match officials can enhance their capabilities to compete in a global refereeing environment,” Meikle added.

The match officials will prepare for Qatar with summer seminars in Asunción, Madrid and Doha, with training sessions ahead of the World Cup scheduled for November 21-18 December.

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