Doumouh Al Bakkar
However, a woman named Doumouh Al Bakkar has gone one step further and made history by running several games for men after becoming one of the leading referees in women’s football in Lebanon.
Al Bakkar started as a player before focusing on coaching. 2014 would be a turning point in the life of the young Lebanese woman after taking part in a “referees of tomorrow” training course organized by her national football association. Enthusiastic from the start, she remains as passionate about her job for six years as ever.
When asked how she went from being a player to becoming a coach and finally becoming a referee, Al Bakkar told “I took the Referees of Tomorrow course in 2014. It was a new challenge for me in the world of football and I wanted to acquire new skills. At that time I liked the idea of taking over games, ensuring a smooth process, and developing in the world of football. “
Al Bakkar had remarkable successes in her new profession and, in addition to the women’s league finals, led the Lebanese Women’s Cup finals several times. She has also directed qualifying matches for the AFC U-16 and U-19 women’s championships and the qualifying games for the women’s Olympic soccer tournament, as well as several women’s tournaments in West Asia and women’s games in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Jordan.
Al Bakkar’s excellent work earned her an international badge in 2016, which allowed her to become one of the most prominent referees in Asia. Subsequently, she directed several friendlies for men, as well as some second division games and youth tournaments.
When asked about the differences between taking over women’s and men’s games, Al Bakkar said: “Women’s games differ from men in terms of level, experience, and tactics. Football used to be a men’s sport. They therefore have a lot more experience and play a lot more games, which affects the standard, the performance and the playing style.
“This, in turn, requires more physical exertion, a different way of moving around the field and a pronounced referee style. I wouldn’t say that men’s games are more difficult – in fact, they are easier to read – but they require firm management and a strong personality. “
Al Bakkar believes that her success as a referee will motivate other girls to follow suit. “I support every girl who loves football and wants to be a referee. I never hesitate to offer help and share my knowledge and experience with those I meet to encourage them to follow the same path. “
Focusing On Future Success
Al Bakkar’s success took on an international dimension when she attended the Summer Universiade Chinese Taipei 2017. There she led several games of the women’s soccer tournament, including the quarter-finals between Canada and Brazil, before being selected as part of the referee team for the final between Brazil and Japan.
Not surprisingly, she has fond memories of this tournament. “The final between Japan and Brazil was the most remarkable game of my career so far. It was my first experience as a referee outside of Lebanon. There were a lot of fans and the style of play was very different. I still remember that wonderful feeling, ”she recalled.
“I worked hard to be selected for the final and I managed to do it. I learned that persistence pays off and I’ve developed a much deeper love for the game, ”she added.
Al Bakkar strives to make a name for himself internationally and hopes that one day a Lebanese woman will officiate at the FIFA Women’s World Cup ™, something she believes will be inevitable.
“We want to represent Lebanon at the World Cup and I hope that I can do that personally. However, if I can’t do it, I’m sure another referee will reach the final because we’re learning and getting better at work, and one day the opportunity will come up. “
Asked about her future goals, Al Bakkar concluded the interview with the words: “I want to be successful in Asia and make a name for myself so that I can lead the final and then take part in the World Cup. It’s a long journey that requires tremendous endurance. “