India might not be shining in the international football arena, but a certain Indian woman is surely making the country proud with her officiating skills.

Rupa Devi from Tamil Nadu’s Dindigul in the district of Madurai, was initially selected to be a part of the Asian body’s ‘Future Referees’ project in 2013, being the only Indian in the elite group and now she becomes the first woman from India to be selected by football’s international governing body to officiate in the international arena.

Her journey started when she started playing for her college team. Rupa was also a part of the Dindigul Football Association and has also featured on state and national football teams. Her educational background in physical education along with her refereeing stints in the AFC under 14 Football festival in Doha and a stint in a football competition in Sri Lanka were major factors in her being chosen by FIFA.

Talking about her officiating experiences with the Hindu, Rupa said “At Doha, I was given the opportunity to officiate as a central referee in three matches, one as the assistant referee and another as the fourth referee. I have done the job to the best of my ability. I am hoping for more opportunities.”

Football is slowly growing in India and Dindigul can be an example where young footballing talent is encouraged and provided with a ground to flourish. The story of Rupa Devi is an inspirational one of how nothing can stop you from achieving your dreams. And a story like hers will surely give a boost to nurturing and development of football in the country.

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