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Young referees Katuke and Tuariki shine on international stage

Tuesday 14 May 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Football, Sports

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Young referees Katuke and Tuariki shine on international stage
Penina Katuke and Te Upoko Tuariki made their mark on the Oceania football scene at the recent OFC Under 15 Girls Development Tournament. SUPPLIED/24051330

Cook Islands referees Penina Katuke and Te Upoko Tuariki have made their mark on the Oceania football scene at the recent OFC Under 15 Girls Development Tournament.

Their outstanding performance earned them appointments to officiate the semi-final and final matches of the tournament held in Fiji.

Katuke refereed the semi-final clash between the Solomon Islands and Tahiti, while Tuariki served as assistant referee in the final match featuring New Caledonia and Fiji. This came on the heels of their assignment as referee and assistant referee for the match between Fiji and Tonga earlier in the tournament.

Tuariki embraced the opportunity to officiate at the semi-final level, a significant milestone in her refereeing career.

Both Katuke and Tuariki have gained invaluable experience throughout the tournament, from pre-match procedures to post-game protocols.

Tuariki reflected, “Assisting in the tournament has boosted my confidence and deepened my understanding of the game’s laws.”

Katuke added, “I’ve learned to enjoy the game, focus on development, and build confidence.”

Their journey to this point began when Tuariki decided to become a referee in 2021, noticing a shortage of officials in local football and wanting to support the teams and the sport she loves.

Katuke followed in her footsteps in 2022, she was given the opportunity in 2023 to travel to Auckland with John Pareanga to join a OFC Referees’ Development Workshop for promising female officials from across Oceania.

Rakesh Varman, FIFA referee instructor and referee director for the Cook Islands Football Association (CIFA), praised the pair’s achievement, saying, “Officiating at an international final show they’re among the best. They should be incredibly proud.”

Varman noted their discipline and bright future in football, adding, “This is just the beginning. Their hard work in training, practice, and drills has earned them these appointments.”

Moeroa Tamangaro, acting president of CIFA, was thrilled to receive the news while en route to the FIFA Congress in Bangkok, Thailand.

She expressed pride in the development of these rising referees from the Cook Islands, celebrating their success on the international stage.
- SUPPLIED

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