The first woman in Kirkuk to run football matches invites women and girls to enter the arena if they want to work in the field of football referee and advises them not to pay attention to what society says.
Marwa Sajid, 23, a month after obtaining her assistant referee certificate in Baghdad, participated in early February 2023 as a fourth assistant referee in a football match that brought together the North Gas and Makhmour clubs which was held in Kirkuk, thus becoming the first lady to practice in an official match in Kirkuk governorate.
Sajid, a student in the fourth stage at the Faculty of Physical Education at the University of Kirkuk, in July 2022 had the opportunity to participate in a referee course in Baghdad, and she achieved her dream that she aspired to.
Before participating in that course, Marwa was a track and field player and got many trophies, but she says, "I felt that no one was encouraging me and I was not able to achieve my goal. I did not find anyone to support me in this field, so I gave up the idea."
"Even when I was a track and field player, my thoughts were focused on being a referee," Marwa adds.
About her participation in the referee session, Sajid says that her family and university professors provided her with support, although some friends warned her that what she was doing would put her in trouble and that it would be better for her to back down from her decision.
"I was determined to overcome obstacles and not care what people say, and I followed my dream," Sajid enthusiastically told KirkukNow.
She was determined to take part in the referee trining, and in January 2023 she obtained the refereee certificate, and her dream came true.
She has other dreams that she wants to achieve, and she believes that perseverance leads to achieving dreams.
"I have a nice feeling that I became a referee, in my first match I had the support of the players, and they respected my decisions," unlike what was said that she would face a lot of hardships and suffering.
Sajid says that she did not face any obstacles, which prompted her to motivate women to take the challenge without hesitation.
She hopes that more women and girls turn into referees.
"This arena is another opportunity for women to prove their capabilities. I hope that women do not think about what others say since we are not less than men."
Sajid belongs to a sports family, and says that her brothers play football, her mother encourages FC Barcelona, and one of her cousins is referee for futsal.
Futsal is a football-based game played on a hard court smaller than a football pitch, and mainly indoors, similar to five-a-side football and indoor football, played between two teams of five players and unlimited substitutions are permitted.
"Fortunately, I have come a long way and become a referee... I will not give up and will continue to work until I fulfill my other dreams. I want to become an international referee."