Uvena Fernandes will become the first Indian referee to officiate in the final of a Fifa tournament when she takes charge as an assistant in the summit clash between Japan and North Korea in the women
Uvena Fernandes will become the first Indian referee to officiate in the final of a Fifa tournament when she takes charge as an assistant in the summit clash between Japan and North Korea in the women’s U-17 World Cup in Jordan on Friday.
K. Sankar had been the only Indian referee to have officiated in a Fifa event before Uvena. The Tamil Nadu man worked as an assistant at the 2002 Fifa World Cup. Uvena, who is a native of Goa, is a Squadron Leader in the Air Force in Assam.
According to Goutam Kar, head of referees in the All India Football Federation, Uvena was downcast after not being selected for the semi-finals in Jordan. “I told her to bide her time. I had a hunch that Uvena would get an assignment in the final. She was left speechless when Fifa announced her name for the final. Uvena deserves it,” he said.
Kar said Uvena, 35, is a role model for women referees in India.
“She can deliver under extreme pressure; she always remains calm on the field. What I like most about Uvena is her focus and determination. She is a master at multi-tasking. Uvena has a seven-year-old child and her husband is a pilot in the Army. She juggles all her responsibilities with aplomb,” he added.
The AIFF’s next goal is to help Uvena officiate in the women’s Fifa World Cup in 2019. “She ticks all the boxes to reach the highest level in refereeing,” Kar said.