Parody of Referee Nasrullo Kabirov Goes Viral in Cyberspace

Referee Nasrullo Kabirov gave a red card to Ivar Jenner in the 46th minute in the opening match of the U23 Asian Cup in Doha, Qatar, Monday night, April 15 2024. (Photo: PSSI)

The name of the referee for the U-23 Asian Cup 2024 in Qatar, Nasrullo Kabirov, has become a topic of conversation in cyberspace this week, after many of his decisions in the inaugural match between the host national team Qatar vs Indonesia on Monday night, April 15, 2024, were considered controversial.

An excessively strict attitude towards Indonesian players and tolerance towards Qatari players is very detrimental to Indonesia, whose U-23 National Team has just qualified for the Asian Cup and made history.

The referee’s decisions, which many observers and the public questioned about their fairness, resulted in two red cards for Indonesian players, Ivar Jenner and Ramadhan Sananta. Indonesia was forced to play ten players in the second half and nine players at the end of the match.

In the match which took place at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, Indonesia finally had to accept bad luck and swallow the bitter pill by losing 0-2 to Qatar.

Indonesia was also inflamed and angry with the referee from Tajikistan.

Indonesian Reaction

Nasrullo Kabirov’s leadership was so strong in the opening match that the “Young Garuda” players and coaches protested strongly directly to the referee on the field. Coach Shin Tae Yong’s loud protest to the referee earned him a yellow card.

When the U-23 Indonesian Team players were asked to remain focused in looking at and preparing for the next Group A match against Australia and Jordan, Shin Tae-yong still showed his anger towards the referee.

Shin Tae-yong said he would report to FIFA regarding referee Nasrullo’s controversial decision. He considered Kabirov’s decision to be inappropriate, especially the red card against Ivar Jenner. Even Shin Tae Yong felt that Nasrullo’s decisions were a “comedy show” and a joke for an event at the level of the U-23 Asian Cup.

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The South Korean coach said that referee Nasrullo’s decision had made his players mentally fall after the match against Qatar.

The Indonesian football federation PSSI, chaired by Erick Thohir, immediately sent a letter of protest to AFC as the organizer of the 2024 U-23 Asian Cup for a number of reasons.

However, Indonesia was disappointed because the AFC rejected PSSI’s protest against the leadership of referee Nasrullo and the video assistant referee or VAR, Sivakorn Pu-Udom from Thailand.

Instead of accepting Indonesia’s protest, the AFC upheld the decisions of the two referees. Even Ivan Jenner was banned from playing when Indonesia played against Australia, while Ramadhan Sananta was banned twice because he immediately received a red card, and was also fined IDR 16 million.


Nasrullo Kabirov has quite an interesting track record, awarding 37 penalties during his career as a referee in the 90 matches he has officiated. (Photo: PSSI)

Observer Comments

Football observer, Justinus Lhaksana alias Coach Justin, accused Nasrullo Kabirov of being the ‘envelope referee’ in the Indonesia U-23 vs Qatar U-23 football team match, because he made many controversial decisions.

He also said that the Qatar U-23 players should be embarrassed because they were matched by the Indonesian U-23 National Team which played with only 9 players.

“This is the original envelope referee. “This is serious,” said Justin on the Justinus Lhaksana YouTube channel.

When asked to comment on a program on TV One, Coach Justin believed that there was a “game” being played by referee Nasrullo.

Meanwhile, football observer Ronny Pangemanan, who is familiarly known as “Bung Ropan”, said that the Qatar Team’s match against Indonesia was not special because apart from benefiting from the referee’s decision, they were playing against Indonesia who played with nine players.

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“Apart from Qatar having the advantage as host, the leadership of referee Nasrullo Kabirov from Tajikistan really made us (the national team) suffer throughout the match,” he said on his Bung Ropan YouTube channel.

According to him, it is normal for the referee to be tough on Qatar, because Qatar “must be able to win this match, whatever it is.”

“Everything must be done, Qatar must be able to get points against Indonesia,” he said.

Meanwhile, Binder said that in this match the Indonesian national team was far superior to Qatar, in every aspect.

“In terms of material, our players are far superior to Qatar, especially in terms of experience, and in terms of playing, we are also good,” said the football observer whose full name is Binder Singh on his YouTube channel.

“I’m hurt, I’m sad to see the struggle of our players on the field, but many of the referee’s decisions were wrong,” he said.

“The referee is a bit lazy, why don’t we protest, PSSI sending a letter to AFC, in my opinion, is fine, even though it won’t change the score,” he added.

Indonesian Netizens Comments

Even though the Indonesian national team has moved on and achieved historic full points when they beat the Australian U-23 national team 1-0 in the second match of the group phase on Thursday night, April 18, attacks by Indonesian netizens on referee Nasrullo have not stopped.

Referee Nasrullo’s controversial decision has sparked anger among Indonesian netizens. As a result, after the match, the Instagram account @nasrullo_ref belonging to the referee from Tajikistan was flooded with more than 700 thousand comments expressing deep disappointment with his actions.

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Some comments from netizens that attracted attention were as follows: “Referees like you, I hope you never enjoy profits from illicit money,” said the account @xmau22.

“Are you so humble? “To the point of selling justice,” said @taufik_achmad_latif.

“Qatar is nicknamed the country of the referee mafia,” said @adhem_14.

“Don’t expect to feel the beauty of heaven because of your injustice last night, you have to apologize a lot to your God,” said @caramelmachiato06_.

It wasn’t just Nasrullo’s account that was attacked by Indonesian fans, but the Instagram account @afcasiancup was also the target of scathing comments from netizens.

Nasrullo is still being discussed

Even though the Qatar versus Indonesia match has passed for a week, referee Nasrullo continues to be in the news.

The media is busy writing his name in news headlines again and netizens are again attacking his social media accounts, after the Tajikistan national team is threatened with being eliminated from the 2024 Asian Cup tournament.

Tajikistan is perched at the bottom of Group C, in the same group as Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Iraq. Tajikistan has not scored a single point from two matches. The next match will be against Thailand, who previously beat Iraq.

If Tajikistan loses again in the last match against Thailand, it is certain that their struggle in the U-23 Asian Cup will end.

Many netizens attributed Tajikistan’s defeat to karma from the unfair decision of referee Nasrullo Kabirov, who is a citizen of Tajikistan. (T/RE1/P2)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)