Khartoum, (Sundanow) - Atbara town, about 300 km north of the national capital Khartoum, stands out for two things. It was the epicenter and the backbone for all Sudan railways activities. Thus it is related to workers and workers activities, including being one of the first areas in the Sudan to stand against colonial power. The second is the name of the town is linked to the Sudanese leftist movement in general.
And despite the tremendous political, social, economic and cultural changes that marred the scene in the town, it still remained the bedrock for cultural innovations, vanguard and it continues spurring surprises every now and then. One of such surprises is the one related to us by a referee in the town: a Father Referees match between rival teams captained by his own sons
It was the first time to take place in Atbara, the capital of steel and fire (headquarters of Sudan Railways) and in Sudan as well for a man to referee a football match between two rival team in the town's derby led by the sons of the referee.
The hero of this historic, unprecedented event was retired international referee Mubarak Sidahmed Hakim who narrated to SUDANOW what happened during the match of Al-Nasr (Eagle) team captained by his elder son Sadr al-Dinn and Al-Watan (the homeland) team led by his younger son Taqi al-Dinn in Atbara in 2014.
He said he was secretary of the local referees committee and decided to end his career by refereeing the match between the two sides without disclosing this decision to the two captains, his sons, and to make it surprise to them to make it the first match in the Sudan and in the world to be supervised by a father over two sides headed by his two sons.
Hakim said the world's closest, not similar, to this occasion was a European national team in which a father and his son were playing together or cases in which two referees supervised one match or two brothers played in one team but, he says his case was unique.
The father said before going to the stadium, the two captains at home defied and threatened each with a crashing defeat while he was listening and their mother as praying to God for an equalized result.
The brothers, during the home conversation, each boasted his skills and talents, with Sadr possessing high-standard dodging skills as a midfielder and his brother Taqi a difficult defense.
Hakim said when they left home for their respective clubs; he told his wife that he would supervise the match which would the last one before his retirement.
Upon going inside the pitch with the ball in my hand, everyone was taken by surprise, particularly by son Sadr who shouted: "What is this, father?"
"Keep silent, boy, 'father' is at home", Hakim said, adding that Taqi hid his surprise and said nothing.
"I was very serious and asked: 'who will make the start, captains?' and the elder brother gave the chance to his younger brother and the match began in a high technical standard and enjoyed by all spectators.
"The first half ended successfully and at the beginning of the second one and in a struggle over the ball, Sadr jumped high in the air and nearly fell on his brother. At this point the parental emotion and in an unconscious move, I shouted loudly: 'Boy, No Boy' and I heard the spectators retarding in one voice: 'Boy is at Home, international referee'. The game moved on till the final whistle with a 3/3 result, in response to their mother's prayer.
"I did not show any pleasure and only announced each of the two goals Taqi scored in observance the feelings of Sadr."
The famous referee Hakim, before taking up the whistle, was a football player for Al-Shabibah Club of Atbara and then moved to play for Khartoum clubs before starting the referee career.
He remember that before entering the pitch to supervise his first match, he performed ablution and two bows and laid his hand on the Holy Koran to swear that he felt any time that he had displayed sympathy to any side would resign the job.
Hakim said, after retirement, he advised his sons and explained to them the football rules so that they would not make mistakes on the playground. He said he encouraged and offered them incentives for the fine performance and he followed their matches in person while he was in Atbara and by telephone while he was away from that city. He said he supervised numerous matches for them, for his sons of his brothers and those of his relatives in general.
At present, Taqi plays for AL-Falah Club of Atbara while his brother Sadr plays for Al-Rabitah of Koste, in the White Nile State.