Friday, July 12, 2024
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International referee Lidya Tafesse hang-up her whistle

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First ever woman to officiate men’s top flight football in Ethiopia, Lidiya Tafesse hung up her whistle after two decades long and distinguished career. Lidiya’s final match was in Ethiopia’s biggest derby match between Kidus Giorgis and Ethiopia Bunna which ended in a 1-1 draw.
The 43 year-old mother of one and a pharmacist by profession, Lidiya was a pioneer of Women referees in the continent as well in Ethiopia setting new boundaries in the sport. In her twenty-years illustrious career she had seen lots of challenges including the nearly slowing down weight increase following her giving birth for her only child in 2014.
First ever Women referee to officiate men’s Ethiopian Premier League tournament, first ever woman FIFA center referee in East-Africa, first ever all-female match official to lead CHAN men’s qualifier between Namibia and Tanzania in 2021 and the only Ethiopian women referee to officiate in two Women world cup finals in 2015 and 2019, Lidiya’s two decades were a huge dream-come-true journey that earns a chapter in World Football history book.
Though many referees complain that officiating local leagues is tougher than international matches, for the humble, friendly and yet always commanding Liydia, had had her own way of settling matters even between two rival sides as well as fans.
Although referees are invariably remembered for the decision they got wrong rather than those they got right , Lidya’s bold decision of taking charge of the country’s biggest derby match Giorgis Vs Bunna as her final match earned her a standing ovation from both clubs’ supporters as well as much admiration from the players.
It is recalled one of Africa’s giant referees Bamlak Tessema also hung-up his whistle after the much talked about CAF Champions League final match Ahly Vs Waydad. The 43 year-old is much remembered and praised for over-turning two penalty decisions in the African Cup semi final Senegal win over Burkina Faso.

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