Fijian referee Finau Vulivuli and her two assistants have earned the right to officiate at the U-17 Women's World Cup, kicking off in Trinidad and Tobago on Monday.
From left, Jacqui Stephenson, Finau Vulivuli and Lata Tuifutuna after passing the fitness test. Photo: Vanuafoot Media
The Savusavu-based school teacher passed a fitness test in Trinidad on Friday and will now head an OFC trio, which also includes assistant referees Jacqui Stephenson from New Zealand and Tonga's Lata Tuifutuna, in representing Oceania at the event.
Fiji Football Association (Fiji FA) Referees Director Chandra Segran is delighted by the news of the trio passing their tests.
He says Vulivuli is now a step closer to achieving her ultimate goal - to officiate at next year's FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany.
"Fiji FA is proud of the achievements of Finau Vulivuli," Segran says.
"At a young age she has progressed well. We were confident all along that she would pass this fitness test and officiate at the U-17 Women's World Cup.
"This is yet another stepping stone towards her dream of making it to Germany. I would like to wish her all the best and hope that she continues to progress.
"The U-17 Women's World Cup starts next week and we will be keeping a close eye on her. But we are confident she will excel at this event," Segran says.
Fiji FA Chief Executive Officer Bob Kumar echoes those sentiments.
"Our referees continue to put Fiji's name on top," he says. "Just recently, we had Ravinesh Kumar at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore and now Finau has passed the fitness test to officiate at this U-17 event.
"We are proud of her achievements and this goes to show that our development programmes are right on track."
The referee trio are not Oceania's only representatives at the event.
New Zealand's Young Football Ferns are also flying the flag for OFC and play their first game against Venezuela in Trinidad on Tuesday at 11am (NZT). Match coverage is live on New Zealand channel Sky Sport 1 from 10.45am.