PORT MORESBY: Australian women’s referee Jacqui Melksham has been given the nod to officiate in her first OFC match when she walks out to the middle for the opening match of the 2004 OFC Under 19 Women’s Qualifying Tournament between host nation Papua New Guinea and international women’s football debutants, Solomon Islands.

She will be supported by fellow countrymen, women assistant referees Michelle Treloar and Sarah Ho, who will also make their OFC debuts with Cook Islands referee Paul Lynch making a return to the OFC scene after some years away, appointed the fourth official.

Referee Inspector, Ken Wallace, was pleased to announce yesterday that all the match officials, including New Zealand-based Solomon Islands referee, Michael Afu and Cook Islands women’s assistant referee Mata Iroa had passed their fitness tests held under sweltering conditions yesterday morning at the Sir John Guise Stadium.

Mr Wallace also took time to pass on his condolensces to Samoan women’s assistant referee Agape Petaia who was unable to take up her appointment for this tournament due to the passing away of her father the previous week.

Following their tests, the match officials were briefed further by Wallace on refereeing matters in a seminar held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel where the OFC delegation are staying in Port Moresby. Further seminars will be held during the course of the week.