FORMER national team member Merlo Silva Albano of Davao City was accepted as an international assistant referee by the Federation Internationale de Football Association (Fifa) Referees Committee.
She was among the 12 nominees of the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) to the Fifa 2021 Refereeing International List.
Merlo Albano of Davao-South Regional Football Association (RFA) was elated although it was not her first time to be accepted as women's assistant referee.
"Happy po, kay qualified gihapon ko po, 11 years nko as Fifa assistant referee po (I'm happy to qualify again, I've been a Fifa assistant referee for 11 years)," she said, adding that Fifa licenses for Fifa referees and assistant referees are being renewed every year.
She also said should there be any Fifa tournament to be staged this year, she is again qualified to officiate.
The PFF, on Wednesday, January 27, bared the Filipinos who made it in this year's Fifa international referee list including another Mindanaoan, Clifford Daypuyat of Zamboanga del Norte (Dipolog RFA).
Completing the list were referees Meliton Pelayo of Iloilo FA, who made the cut for the first time; Jhesa Mae Kaatz (Iloilo FA, women's referee since since 2018); Steve Suprecencia (Iloilo FA, since 2011); and assistant referees Relly Balila (FA of Rizal, since 2015); Francis Engalgado (Iloilo FA, since 2018); Kent Gobuyan (Iloilo FA, since 2012); Giovanni Lachica (Negros Occidental FA, since 2018); Krizmark Nañola (Quezon - Batangas RFA,since 2017); Fifa futsal referees Emmanuel Elloso (Iloilo FA, since 2014); and Rey Ritaga (since 2006).
PFF president Mariano Araneta, on the PFF website, congratulated the 12 Filipinos who were accepted to the Fifa Refereeing List of 2021.
"We wish them all the best in their future assignments in both domestic and international competitions," Araneta said, hoping that match officials continue to uphold integrity in every match they officiate in."