May 08, 2017
Twenty-two-year-old Navneet Varman will be the youngest referee at the 2017 Vodafone Fiji FACT in Nausori.
The Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA) Taxation Officer is excited and looking forward to the tournament with a lot of enthusiasm.
Speaking to FijiLive after the announcement of the final panel of referees for the tournament, Varman said this season has been good for him as he made a return after being out of action for two years.
“I picked up an ACL injury in 2014 and was out of action for two years. I was also studying at USP at that time so I focused more on my recovery and studies. I finished my studies and graduated with a BA in Accounting and Information System last year and upon securing a job, I decided to get back to refeering this year as my injury has healed,” he said.
“It was a challenge initially to get back to full fitness but the support and motivation from fellow referees and my family encouraged me to work hard and I got the chance to do some senior and premier matches.”
His big break came this year when he controlled the decider between Ba and Lautoka in the Pillay Garments Champion vs Champion Series.
“That was a big game and I am glad I managed to control it well. I also did three premier division matches in the National League and those matches were quite intense as well.”
Navneet started refeering when he was in Form 4 at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial School.
Apart from refereeing, he also played for the school’s age grade teams and also represented MGM in long distance running at the Coca Cola Games.
He says his father, Mr Rakesh Varman and his elder brother Nishil Varman inspire him a lot and he hopes to follow in their footsteps.
“My dad has always been my role model and my brother also inspires me a lot. My dad has retired from refeering and my brother is taking a break as he has graduated recently and is a doctor by profession. His work commitment keeps him away from refereeing at the moment, so I will be only member of the family who will be officiating in Fiji FACT.”
“I have officiated in some tournaments in the premier division but only as an assistant referee and this is my big chance and I want to give my best as I want to remain consistent and obtain a FIFA badge in the near future,” he added.
Navneet and Veer Singh are two referees that will make their tournament debut in the middle of the pitch at Ratu Cakobau Park.
By Reginald Chandar