Meet Bangladesh’s first female referee Joya

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:00, Aug 26,2019

Joya Chakma

Joya Chakma

Joya Chakma, who passed required test to become the first women FIFA referee from Bangladesh, has a future vision to work for the development of women’s football, denying all stereo-typed social mindset.

‘My thinking is to work for female football and the future plan is to work for total football development for women,’ said the 27-year old lady from Rangamati, who passed the FIFA referee test on August 23. 

Apart from Joya, former Bangladesh female athlete Salma Islam Moni of Netrokona, also passed FIFA referee test on the same day to be part of the history.        

Joya served for national women’s team from 2008 to 2012 and is currently working as coach of the Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protishthan women’s team after joining in November, 2016 with her AFC-B license.

Joya, who joined at BKSP after completing her post-graduation in History from Jahangirnagar University, is determined to overcome the social barriers for female athletes.

‘The stereo-type social mindset is the main challenge for me in refereeing or in coaching. I am aware of challenges and know how far I would go,’ she said. 

‘I know, as long as I will be able to run on the ground, I will have value,’ said Joya while talking to New Age on Sunday.

The eldest one of her parent’s three daughters, Joya enjoys her duties and finds no difference in challenges between coaching and refereeing.

‘No matter its coaching or refereeing I enjoy both. Actually I enjoy football wholeheartedly. At BKSP, I work as coach while serve for federation as referee,’ she said. 

Joya served as referee in international level around 30 to 35 matches, including about 10 matches in Berlin football festival in 2015, where teams like Argentina, Brazil and some other Latin American nations took part.

She started refereeing on a regular basis from 2012 and her first overseas assignment came in Sri Lanka in 2013 at the AFC Under -14 women’s football tournament.

‘I saw in Sri Lanka that there is no FIFA referee from Bangladesh. Then I saw that there is a big space for refereeing and made up my mind to start refereeing,’ she said.

Joya believed that her dual role as coach and referee is enriching her understanding of football, helping her improve skills in each field.    

‘In both field you need knowledge. I enjoy both, actually I enjoy football completely. I can use my refereeing knowledge in coaching and coaching knowledge in refereeing. I need to study players’ mind during games,’ Joya continued.

‘When I work as coach, I observe girls’ psychology, playing techniques and tactics. When I go to refereeing, I can understand players’ qualities, also can find out what techniques and tactics are working out instantly,’ she narrated.

Joya has no discomfort of doing duties as referee or coaching with football – ‘Actually, I am a football loving person. I am the same person whether I am coach or do refereeing.’

Joya will be able to actively work in FIFA matches from January 2020 and will have to renew her FIFA license each year through exam.  

Joya was scheduled to leave for India on Sunday night with BKSP Under-17 Women’s team to take part in the Subroto Mukharjee Cup Football Tournament, starting on August 30.

Want stories like this in your inbox?

Sign up to exclusive daily email