2017 Women of Excellence Nominations







01 August 2017 Written by 

Lydia Tafesse

International Sport Referee


“We women can do anything; there is no such thing as a man’s profession.”

Lidya started her career as a professional soccer and basketball player.  She did her first refereeing in 1998 in Mekelle. She refereed men’s project game and it was at that time when she realized that she could be good at refereeing and found her true passion. With the encouragement and support of her senior instructors, she abandoned her profession by training—pharmacy-- to become a referee who works with Integrity.

In her years of refereeing she has fulfilled her dream to be a referee at a premier league. And it didn’t take much time to achieve it. She then became a referee at the African Cup which is held every two years and she was the referee four years in a row. She was also a referee at the opening of the All Africa Game in Cameroon and at the biggest semi-final game between South Africa and Nigeria. Lidya was voted as star referee for 3 years in a row for the men premier league and once the females at the Ethiopian premier league.

She is a pioneer in female refereeing not only in Ethiopia but also in Africa; female African referees are currently not more than 5.  The fact that she speaks her mind and she is a good communicator, many trust her and are following her steps. Not only those who are emerging as referees, but also those who work beside her say they learn from her ethical standard. So her colleagues believe she is the best example for them. More than 50 female referees have followed her footsteps.

Lidya Tafesse was selected to officiate the Women's World Cup in Canada in 2015 by the world football governing body FIFA.

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