Nigerian Female Referee on the Path to Earning FIFA Badge Talks About Challenges, Good Moments

Nigerian Female Referee on the Path to Earning FIFA Badge Talks About Challenges, Good Moments

  • A Nigerian female referee has shared her experience on the path of choosing the road less travelled by many women
  • She spoke about her difficulties and challenges and what she loves about playing football and officiating
  • The 21-year-old lady is committed and focused on her career path, as she does not let any stumbling block ruin her dreams of becoming a FIFA referee in the future

James Christabel, a 21- year-old student of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, enjoys playing with a rounded leather and said having a ball next to her feet gives her great joy.

She says it has been a childhood past time that she is now ready to transform into a full blown profession.

Christabel officiating a match in Nigeria. Photo credit: Ansar Emirate Source: Original
Source: Original

During a conversation with, Christabel said she had trouble convincing her mother to accept her love for football.

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She said:

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"I love football and sincerely I wanted to become a professional footballer and if I get the opportunity today, I'll definitely go for it if my mom allows me."

Because she is not only in love with football but everything associated with it, she moved to officiate matches to find a balance between her family's interests and hers.

She told

"When it became quite difficult in making my dreams of becoming a footballer a reality, I moved to something related to football and that is Refereeing which I won't say I don't enjoy. I really enjoy Refereeing. My Mom never wanted me to become a footballer as I'm the only daughter and having the fear of becoming muscular."

Being a female referee is like being a female footballer

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Christabel further revealed that the challenges a female referee faces are similar to what women playing football experience, adding that it is a terrain whose difficulties often come from men.

She said:

"Being a referee is not easy at all. It's like me being a female footballer because I face a whole lot of challenges from everyone and everything surrounding me especially Men. It's been a tough ride but I keep moving."
"The challenges I face most atimes are from men who thinks that me as a woman can't get it right in the field. They taunt me and they say 'Christy, forget it you're a woman' you can't make it here but what does Christabel keep doing? I keep proving them wrong every now and then."

The undergraduate also revealed that it's not all gloomy as a female referee and that there are also good times, particularly opportunities.

Her words:

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"The good thing about being a female referee is that you get so many opportunities to prove yourself, your potentials and I absolutely take very good advantage of those opportunities. You get to meet new people. You get to learn new things in the field."

Football is life

Christabel does not reserve words of passion when describing her love for football.

Despite the challenges she faced and her mother's insistence on keeping her from playing football, she still found a way.

She said:

"Football is my life, I was in primary 1 when I started playing football with the boys in my neighborhood then. I felt football was a part of me that I couldn't do away with and no matter the circumstances I still try to play football even when my Mom and my Elder brother would reprimand me for playing football with boys."

A future with the FIFA's badge

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James Christabel, the young Nigerian students at UNN had big dreams, one of them is earning a badge from FIFA, the biggest football in the world.

She said:

"I see myself Officiating, holding that flag up with utmost pride and respect. My flag of authority as I would call it. "I won't rest until I get the FIFA badge."

The young referee also advised other girls who want to choose officiating as a career to be disciplined and stay consistent.

"My advice to younger girls is Put God first, be disciplined and be consistent. Nothing good comes easy and good things comes to those who wait but greater things comes to those who work for it."

Nigerian man changing the lives of borno children

Meanwhile, previously reported that some children had their parents killed, abducted, or maime'd by the insurgents. So many children have therefore been orphaned by the insurgency.

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The attacks on children and the destabilization of their lives came to a head in 2014 when 276 school girls were abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno state.

Although some of the students were later rescued through a negotiated release, since that time, schools have continued to be attacked by terrorists and bandits.


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