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Doué Noumandiez, the CAF pharmacist

Désiré Doué Noumandiez is the new head of African arbitration. The 51-year-old Ivorian has been appointed Director of the Arbitration Commission of the Confederation of African Football. It is the reward of an exemplary career for one who is presented as one of the most honest referees on the continent.

From comical beginnings to a meteoric rise, Désiré Doué Noumandiez has become a source of pride for many Ivorians. And yet, the native of Guiglo, a region in the west of Côte d’Ivoire, had a difficult start in the local championship.

From the touch to the center, under the spotlight of critics

Born September 29, 1970, Doué Noumandiez began his career as a referee in 1999, in his native region. He made his debut as a linesman. A passion that came to him just like that, as he likes to tell himself. It took until 2003 to see him become a central referee. But at the time, he was far from imagining what fate had in store for him. A rather funny first match with many downtimes between the SOA of Yamoussoukro and the CO of Bouaflé, all crowned by an additional time of 12 minutes, in the general incomprehension. “It made a lot of noise,” he recalls. And to make matters worse, Noumandiez is summoned by the Ivorian Football Federation, but is doing quite well.

From arbitration anonymity to the elite of the world whistle

Severe face and shaved head, Doué Noumandiez stands out with his charisma. Far from being beaten down by his highly criticized debut in Côte d’Ivoire, he forged a strong mind to climb the ladder, patiently but surely. From the status of local referee, he obtains the status of international referee and begins by being positioned on the major continental meetings. In 2009, Noumandiez was appointed as referee at the first edition of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Côte d’Ivoire. An honor that he received again during the second edition in 2011, the year during which he became the first referee to receive the prize for the best African referee of the year, during the CAF Awards.

From anonymity, Doué Noumandiez now stands out as one of the best referees on the continent. He is also designated among the officials of the 2010 and 2012 African Cup of Nations. The Ivorian also led the African Supercup for clubs. The icing on the cake is his designation by FIFA to participate in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. This makes him the first Ivorian to referee a football match during a World Cup, when he was about to celebrate his 44th birthday at the time. “He quickly made everyone agree on his skills,” remarked the former president of the Central Commission of Ivorian Arbitrators, Kouakou N’dri, in 2014.

Criticized and almost shouted down in 2003, the man became a source of pride for the Ivorians, who welcomed him with jubilation on his return from the Brazilian World Cup. ” It’s fantastic ! You know that the referees are not used to being cheered but rather booed, “said a very moved Noumandiez.

The pharmacist who became patron of African referees

A pharmacist by profession, Doué Noumandiez immediately returned to his pharmacy after the 2014 World Cup. However, he has always remained close to the world of refereeing. President of the Central Commission of Referees of the Ivorian Football Federation, a position he left in 2022, he was appointed vice-president of the CAF Referees Committee in November 2021. His training as a pharmacist is also appreciated as an asset by his compatriots. “We find in his arbitration a capacity for observation and analysis of game actions… and also a Cartesian spirit specific to scientists”, testified in 2014, Parfait Kouassi, president of the national committee of support for Elephants (CNSE), to him -even former president of the College of Pharmacists.

Never cited in a refereeing scandal, Doué Noumandiez is considered a referee with an exceptional career and one of the most honest men in the African whistle. It is therefore right that he is now placed at the head of the CAF Referees Committee. This in a context where African arbitration is highly criticized.

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