AFC Women Referee of the Year: Rita Binti Gani
Manila: Malaysian referee Rita Binti Gani has been named the AFC Women Referee of the Year during the AFC Annual Awards 2014 in the Philippines on Sunday.
The 37-year-old grabbed the accolade ahead of 2013 winner Sachiko Yamagishi of Japan and Pannipar Kamnueng of Thailand.
An international referee since 2006, Gani worked on six matches -- three of which as referee, and three as fourth official -- at the 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup held in Vietnam. She notably refereed the semi-final clash between Korea Republic and defending champions Australia.
Gani also officiated in four matches and worked as the fourth official in two ties at the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship 2015 qualifiers this year.
She also refereed three matches, including the ninth-place tie, at the 2014 Algarve Cup held in March in Portugal.
"I feel very happy as I never thought I’d win this award. I am actually really shocked, but very happy to win this award," said Gani.
"My best moment this year was refereeing the semi-final of the 2014 AFC Women's Asian Cup in Vietnam between Korea Republic and Australia.
"All the women’s referees, just like the men, dream of refereeing at the FIFA World Cup and that’s my dream too and my goal: to referee at next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.
"And I hope an award like this will take me a step closer to fulfilling that dream."