BY JOY OFASIA
THE first Solomon Islands female referee to earn a FIFA badge as a center referee, Shama Maemae, says that achieving the esteemed badge is a dream come true for her career.
Shama now joins seven other Solomon Islands referees who have received the FIFA badge, forever cementing her place in the country’s football history.
Her journey serves as an inspiration to all aspiring referees, regardless of gender, reminding them that with dedication, perseverance, and talent, anything is possible.
Growing up with a passion for the beautiful game, Shama always aspired to be a referee at the highest level. She worked tirelessly to improve her knowledge of the game and enhance her officiating skills. Her dedication paid off when she was given the opportunity to officiate in important domestic and international matches, catching the attention of FIFA.
“I feel excited and thankful for my hard work and my time that I sacrificed for this career,” the 29-year-old referee told SOLOMON WOMEN. “I saw the potential I have in me, which is self-discipline, and knew that with this I would achieve my goal in my journey as a referee.”
Shama was motivated by her FIFA badge assistant referee colleague, Mathew Taro, who encouraged her and shared his experiences, ultimately convincing her to pursue her career.
“I am proud of how far I have come, and I hope that my achievement can encourage other women referees to follow their dreams and never give up.”
“Now with this achievement, I would like to look back and take this time to acknowledge my instructors, referee colleagues in the country and overseas, and all who helped through support, motivation, and believing in me to reach this far in my career,” she said.
Receiving the FIFA badge is the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice for Shama. Breaking down barriers and proving that women can excel in the male-dominated field of football refereeing has been a constant motivation for her. With the FIFA badge, she hopes to inspire more women to pursue their dreams in football officiating and to showcase their abilities on the global stage.
Shama and FIFA badge assistant referee Natalia Lumukana are the only two females on the FIFA referee list for this year, according to the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) media.
As she prepares to officiate more high-profile matches in the future, Shama remains determined to make a positive impact on the game and continue breaking down barriers for female referees worldwide. Her achievement signifies a significant step forward for gender equality in football officiating, and it is sure to motivate and empower young girls who dream of becoming referees.
Undoubtedly, the first FIFA Badge Female Center Referee is now ready to embark on the next chapter of her career, eager to make her mark on the world stage and contribute to the growth and development of women’s football.