(Reuters) – Referee Yoshimi Yamashita and assistants Makoto Bozono and Naomi Teshirogi are set to make AFC Cup history on Wednesday by becoming the first all-female trio to officiate a match at the tournament.
The three Japanese women will take charge of Yangon United’s final Group F match against Cambodia’s Naga World after passing a fitness test similar to the one required for male officials, the Asian Football Confederation said.
“This is one of my dreams,” said Yamashita, who has officiated at two FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cups. “We’ve worked very hard and this is the result.
“I have to thank the AFC for giving us this opportunity to join the history books in women’s refereeing in Asia.”
Yamashita joins the likes of Stephanie Frappart and Bibiana Steinhaus, who have officiated top flight men’s games in France and Germany, respectively.
The Japanese trio are also part of the AFC’s list of 12 Asian match officials who will be at this year’s Women’s World Cup in France, which starts on June 7.
Assistant referee Teshirogi is hoping the appointment of the all-female refereeing trio inspires more women to officiate men’s games.
“More women passed the men’s fitness test so that shows how motivated women referees are,” she said.
Two more women assistant referees will also be in action at the AFC Cup on Wednesday, with Kim Kyoung-min and Lee Seul-gi set to assist male referee Kim Dae-yong when Ceres Negros host Becamex Binh Duong.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Jennings)