TongaFootball > News > FIFA Women's World Cup Germany 2011 > Referee trio makes record books

Referee trio makes record books

Tonga’s first women’s FIFA assistant referee, Lata Tuifutuna joined Fijian referee Finau Vulivuli and fellow assistant Jacqui Stephenson (New Zealand) as the OFC match official trio took charge of a Group A clash between Canada and Nigeria.
It marked the first time an OFC trio from outside Australia – a former OFC member now part of the Asian Football Confederation – has ever controlled a FIFA Women’s World Cup match.
Vulivuli and her assistants refereed the action as Nigeria caused a major upset by winning 1-0 to secure their first World Cup victory since 1999.
Tuifutuna who earlier this year attended the FIFA Women’s Referees Training camp ahead of the 2011 Algarve Cup in February in Faro, Portugal, had previously taken part in other prestigious events such as the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup and the Algarve Cup but had yet to be involved in a senior World Cup prior to arriving in Germany.
“It was my greatest achievement in my refereeing career and I am honoured to represent Tonga,” Tuifutuna says.
Despite the fact that Tonga is yet to produce world-class footballers, under the guidance of Tonga Football Associations Referee Development Officer, Tevita Vea, TFA continues to achieve its departmental goals.
“It certainly is a milestone for women referees in Tonga and it doesn’t come without hard work and a lot of sacrifice” Vea says.
Tuifutuna follows fellow Tongan FIFA assistant referee, Tevita Makasini, who also reached the pinnacle event of the world’s biggest game in South Africa last year.
The involvement of the OFC trio in Germany 2011 is the latest positive result of the Refereeing Assistance Programme (RAP).
OFC places great importance on developing world-class referees and this has been strongly supported by FIFA through its funding of the programme.
Under the supervision of referee development officer Massimo Raveino, referee instructor Neil Poloso and fitness trainer Kader Touati, the programme is helping to create a more organised, professional approach to refereeing in the Pacific.