Former footballer and current referee Uvena Fernandes will become the first Indian woman to officiate the games at the Fifa U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan next month. No mean feat this, since the only other person to have played a similar role was K Shankar who was assistant referee ( linesman) at the Fifa World Cup 2002.
“I have to prepare myself well for this assignment; it’s the highest tournament where an Indian women referee will take part. Till my assignment is actually over, I am working hard and keeping my fingers crossed,” elated Uvena told TOI. Here are a few facts we dug up about Uvena:
- Uvena is not only amongst the best-qualified Fifa referees at the moment in India and but also a well known former international footballer. In 2003 she was selected to represent India at the Asian Women’s Football Championship in Bangkok.
- In the year of 2006, Uvena joined the Air Force Academy, where she rose to the rank of a flight lieutenant and then served as a an air traffic controller. But joining the air force led her to give up playing football which was her first love.
- She came into prominence as an assistant referee in 2012 when she was certified as a Category 2 referee by the AIFF, allowing her to officiate in national-level matches.
- Assigned for the post of a Fifa referee since 2013, she trains highly-qualified referees and two new assistant have just been added to the list under her.
- As assistant referee, she officiated three matches in the Asian Games 2014 in Incheon, South Korea, including the semifinal clash between former champions Japan and Vietnam.
Officiating the Fifa U-17 Women’s World Cup will surely be a feather in Fernandes’s cap, we are sure she will make most of the opportunity.
Feature Image Credit: sports.ndtv.com