FACT: She’s The Only Female Ref

The Vuya, Bua, native said: “Being a woman, I am very proud to represent all other women referee in Fiji.
28 Nov 2020 15:24
FACT: She’s The Only Female Ref
Sofi Diyalowai during the Vodafone Fiji FACT in Labasa. Photo: Sereana Salalo

Sofi Diyalowai is a familiar name in the football arena.

Born and bred in Labasa, she started her football while she was still a student at Labasa Sangam College.

And not only has the 27 year old represented Fiji in football for more than a decade, she is also one of the nation’s elite referees.

She was the only female referee amongst the 22 officiating at the 2020 Vodafone Fiji FACT.

The Vuya, Bua, native said: “Being a woman, I am very proud to represent all other women referee in Fiji.

“It is not easy to do a men’s game as every women must pass the fitness test to match the demand and pace of the game,’’ she said.

‘’For most tournaments there would be three of us, but this is the first time for me to be alone

She started playing football in 2009 and decided to take on referee in 2016, while she was still playing.

This year she considered to be a fulltime referee. She eyes to officiate at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“Because I do not have a job, I chose to be a referee, it is where I earn a living,’’ she said.

‘’We earn more compared to being a player.

‘’I’ve recently taken up refereeing and I would like to be FIFA Women  OFC Referee.’’

Measles outbreak in December and the current COVID-19 pandemic had stopped her from travelling to participate at Oceania Football Confederation tournaments. But she looks forward to her first game at the OFC level.

‘’I have been in tournaments for two years and I am happy I can pass my fitness test I would like to thank our referees director, Rakesh Varman, who is now a FIFA instructor for guiding me.

“Being a national player I have no regret to join refereeing where my future looks bright.

‘’Women football development in Fiji is growing at quickly. Fiji FA is having U16, U19 and Senior League Games from next year, Women National League starts,’’ Diyalowai added.

“There are about 20 women referees in Fiji and Varman has already set the pace and many more referees will join the refereeing family soon. There is big support by Fiji FA for women football and referees development.’’


Advice to young women

‘’I would like to advice all women who are fit and would like to take up refereeing to join in.

‘’Once you are in the system you will feel proud and enjoy refereeing which is not hard as nothing is impossible. Our referee director and former FIFA referee who has been experience and his explanation and teaching with other instructor in very clear and helpful.’’

She is grateful to all referees for their support and guidance in pursuing her refereeing career.

Diyalowai is the younger sister of Labasa rep, Iliesa Lino.


Edited by Osea Bola




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