There is no stopping Maria Rebello. From becoming the first woman referee to officiate in the I-League for the upcoming 2013-14 season to blowing the whistle in the Final of recently-concluded Chinese National Games, the Goan Referee could not have asked for anything more.
“It was an experience of a lifetime,” Rebello told AIFF Media after touching base in Goa.
“This was the first time I had officiated in an International Event and to get the most prized assignment, was like a dream come true,” she added.
Maria was the Referee in the Women’s Football Final between Jiangsu Province and Shanghai. Jiangsu won the match by a solitary goal.
“I felt like I was Officiating a Men’s match. It was so fast, end to end stuff. I have officiated Mmatches in the Goa Pro League and that helped immensely. I think that was the reason the Officials awarded me with the Final. I was overwhelmed,” she maintained.
Rebello was also in charge of Salgaocar versus Sporting Clube de Goa match in the ongoing Goa Pro League days before she left for Liaoning, the venue for the Games. The Chinese National Games is a quadrennial event.
With two weeks remaining for the I-League to start, Rebello who will be donning the black for the first time in the country’s Premier Club Competition said that this exposure will help her immensely.
“This is the perfect preparation before the I-League. The pace at which the matches were played was amazing. I was really stretched, but I am glad I came out with flying colours at the end. This will help me cope with the I-League matches. I couldn’t have asked for a better preparation.”
Head of Referees Col. Goutam Kar was effusive in praise for Maria.
“Her dedication is paying off. I have always noticed this never-say-die attitude in her and I believe this will take her to places. I am proud of the way she is scaling heights and wish her all the best. Refereeing in the Final of a National Games is no joke.”
(Report & Picture courtesy AIFF Media)