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Refereeing and the pathway to success

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Chonburi: With eight matches completed at the AFC U-19 Women’s Championship Thailand 2019, profiles the three different roles in the world of refereeing.

AFC Elite referee Edita Mirabidova, AFC Academy assistant Educator Widiya Habibah Shamsuri and AFC Referees Department Women’s Manager Pannipar Kamnueng share their insights on the challenges and what it takes to be a top female referee.

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Edita Mirabidova (UZB)

Mirabidova started out as a Project Future Referee in 2007 and went on to earn her FIFA badge in 2011. After becoming and AFC Elite referee in 2013, Mirabidova officiated in the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship in 2013 and 2017 and AFC Women’s Asian Cup in 2018.

What does it take to be a female referee?

“As a female referee, it’s like a challenge to everybody and to myself that you can be a referee and show your abilities on the field. It’s not an easy job, but we can do it.”

What is your fondest memory?

“The most memorable moment is the AFC Project future Course 2007 when I was 23-years-old. We had good instructors. One of them was the late Nazri Abdullah (of Malaysia), he was the best instructor in the world. I will never forget that experience of being able to sit through one of his sessions. It was truly insightful.

Widiya Habibah Shamsuri (MAS)

Shamsuri got into the game in 2005 as a FIFA Assistant Referee and officiated the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2006, Olympic Football Tournament in 2008 and 2012 as well as the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2011 and 2015. Shamsuri became an AFC Referee Assessor in 2017 before taking up the AFC Academy Assistant Educator role in 2019.

What is it like to be a match official?

“Firstly you will need to make a lot of sacrifices, commitment and dedication. You must always be positive, willing to learn and follow the demands of the modern game. Honestly, it’s not easy, I’ve been in this line for 15 years and to be a top referee you need to be mentally strong.”

For the young females out there who want to follow your footsteps, what is your advice to them?

“For young female referees, they can attend the many courses organised by their respective Member Association to get the general idea. They will need some guidance and encouragement in the beginning, which is equally important. Most importantly, they need to know what they want, and have a clear vision. From there they will know which path to follow.”

Pannipar Kamnueng (THA)

Kamnueng earned her FIFA badge in 2004 and officiated in the FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup in the same year and has overseen numerous tournaments, including the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Olympic Football Tournament and FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.

In 2016, Kamnueng became an AFC Referee Assessor and held the position of Thailand FA Director of Referees Department and went on to become AFC Referees Department Women’s Manager in 2019 - the first confederation to hire a manager for women referees.

Could you share your experience being a FIFA Women’s World Cup referee?

“It has been a good 10 years since I refereed at the FIFA World Cup. But the experience gained at such a level is good for me to prepare for future referee.”

What sort of preparations are needed to be a football referee?

“In order to be a part of a big competition like the FIFA World Cup, the referee must have a strong mentality. Passing the fitness test is a prerequisite as well as having a passport in order to obtain a visa. Once all that is in place, along with match experience, the candidate must have adequate knowledge in the Laws of the Game."

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