In a major boost for Refereeing in India and Women’s Football in general Uvena Fernandes became the first ever Woman Referee from India to get selected to officiate in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup slated to kick-off in Jordan from September 30 to October 21, 2016.
In the process she will become the second Indian Referee after Komaleeswaran Sankar to get a chance to officiate in any World Cup. Shankar had officiated as an Assistant Referee in the 2002 FIFA World Cup simultaneously held in Korea Republic and Japan.
An Assistant Referee, Uvena had earlier officiated three matches in the Asian Games 2014 in Incheon, Korea Republic including the semifinal clash between former Women’s Champions Japan and Vietnam.
“It is like a dream come true,” she told AIFF Media immediately after. “It is a wonderful opportunity for me and I am excited to see myself officiate in a FIFA World Cup,” it wasn’t hard to her the glee in Uvena’s voice over the phone.
“I thank AIFF for all the guidance and help.”
Asked whether the thought of her officiating in the tournament gives her jitters, Uvena replied loud: “Of course! I am stilling coming to terms with the fact that I have been appointed to officiate in the U-17 World Cup in Jordan,” she stated.
“It is not only a boost for me,” she added. “It’s a boost for Women’s Football and Women’s Refereeing in general,” she added. “I had always dreamt of taking Indian Women’s Refereeing to an international stage, and now I can. It’s a dream come true,” she reiterated.
Lauding Uvena’s appointment Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF said that the manner AIFF have focused on Refereeing development, “it was on the cards.”
“Development of Indian Referees stays on our priority list. It’s nice to see Indian Referees get international recognition, that too, an appointment to officiate in a World Cup. Congratulations Uvena. I wish her all the best,” he told AIFF Media.
Meanwhile, All India Football Federation’s Head of Referees Col. (Retd.) Goutam Kar said: “This shows that Women’s Refereeing in India is on the right path and Uvena’s achievement is something which will act as inspiration for other girls aspiring to be future referees.”
(Report & Photo courtesy AIFF Media)