Former Fiji women’s football and Labasa defender Sofi Diyolowai will be making her debut as an Oceania Football Confederation Assistant Referee next month after being selected to be part of the referees panel for the OFC U-16 Women’s Championship 2019 tournament in Tahiti.

Speaking to Fiji FA media Diyolowai said she can’t wait to make her debut on the international stage following three years of hard work.

“I am very excited as this will be my first assignment as OFC referee and eagerly lookin forward for it, “said Diyolowai.

“I started refereeing in 2016 and I first attended a referee’s course at Seaqaqa Primary School but could not continue then because I was still playing for the national team. But after advice from Fiji FA Referees Development Officer Rakesh Varman and my family I took up refereeing. As my age is catching up with me,  I am already 26,  I switched my career from footballer to refereeing, “ she explained.

The former footballer, whose ultimate goal is to referee at a FIFA Women’s World Cup, is hoping her switch will pay off.

“I have donned the national jumper for so many years but I believe my career in refereeing will take me to other parts of the world,” she said.

“My dream is to officiate at the FIFA Women’s World Cup and I believe in myself and for sure I know a way will come for me to achieve my dreams, “she said.

Fiji FA Referees Director Rakesh Varman firmly believes said it was a great move for Sofi to further her career in refereeing.

“Her appointment is recognition of the hard work she has put in and she should be congratulated for her achievement.

“What is particularly pleasing from a development perspective is we have three women representing Fiji in the championship. This is good for the promotion of our female match officials and especially for Torika Delai, Lonisa Dioloni and Diyolowai,” explained Varman

“These appointments really highlight that women, and women from this region, can get to the top.  As much as we encourage them, at the end of the day it comes down to the individual and their sacrifices, “ added the Fiji FA Referees Development Officer.