Viola Rowe has become the first woman in the Caribbean to act as match referee in a senior regional match, when she officiated in the KFC Cup game between Guyana and Combined Campuses and Colleges at the Providence Stadium.
"My love for the game has caused me to get involved in match refereeing," Rowe told the Saturday Sun Sports. "At this age, I can't get involved in playing and I don't really like umpiring. I'm comfortable with it [match refereeing]."
An administrator at the Cyril Potter College of Education, Rowe first got involved as a match referee at club level, in 2003. And after successfully completing a course, she had further trials by officiating in a series of matches. Last year, she stood in matches during the TCL West Indies Under-19 competition.
In a sport dominated by men, there are bound to be a few eyebrows raised when some see Rowe on the job, but she has gained favourable feedback.
"It's been very positive. Sometimes when I go out for the toss, the guys say they are honoured to have a female match referee and they are encouraged to do all the things that are right and not to get involved in any breaches," she said.
Rowe concedes that there are challenges as a match referee, but she is quickly getting on top of things and she hopes her involvement will encourage other women to get into the game.
"As a woman in the field, sometimes you get a lot of support and at other times, you don't get the support you need. Women need to be encouraged to get on board. We need to see a lot more women involved at administrative level, more coaches, more referees, more umpires."