Barbados and Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football referee Tonia Deane has one objective in mind this year and that is to remain safe and healthy.
Deane who was shortlisted last year to officiate in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup was this month appointed to the FIFA list as an assistant referee for the sixth year.
“My goal in the initial sense would be to remain safe and healthy from the coronavirus. I was injured last year, a non-football related injury. So, I am basically looking to recover from that injury and in the process get fit.
“If I am given the opportunity to be called up for any tournaments that take place this year, I’ll just go out there and do what I do – my best – and keep the Barbados flag flying,” Deane told Barbados TODAY.
On the verge of creating history as the first Barbadian to officiate in a senior World Cup in 2023, Deane said her aim was to get a lot stronger, considering that more will be demanded of her since she has been shortlisted for the women’s World Cup.
“In CONCACAF they talk about excellence and that is our pet word in CONCACAF. So, they are going to be looking for excellence right through. Obviously, nobody is perfect but at the same time I will be working towards exactly what they are looking for.
“One of the things I will be looking to do is go out there and do what is required of me. Not really looking to go outside of the parameters unless it is called for. My major thing is to work towards getting back healthy and perform at my maximum,” she said.
Considering the Barbados Football Association is unable to host local matches because of the pandemic, Deane explained that coping during this time was not difficult.
Among a list of tier two female assistant referees in the Caribbean, Deane noted that the only challenging aspect is knowing that training is a must but there is no football to officiate.
However, at the same time she acknowledged that this is a phase the world is going through and once things smoothed over there was something for her to work towards.
She also lauded CONCACAF for always providing information and ensuring that regional referees were kept updated.
“Honestly, I just believe that once we get over this hurdle that things are going to not necessarily go back to normal but that football would be played again. Not just in certain parts of the world but worldwide and that we would be able to do what we have been doing all the time. Train, get the maximum out of our training and when we go into any games we have to officiate, officiate them to the best of our ability,” Deane explained.
She added: “Every month CONCACAF would send us a training schedule and every Friday a video to review. And then we would need to have our answers by Monday morning. So, the information has always been coming.
“When the world went on lockdown, what the director of CONCACAF for refereeing Mr Brian Hall basically did was come together and hold some online courses and sessions.”