International Tunisian referee Dorsaf Ganoiati has scored yet another goal (pun intended) in her impressive career.
On Saturday, the 33-year-old made history as the first Arab and African woman to referee a men's first division match when she took charge of the final match between Espérance Sportive de Tunis and Club Athlétique Bizertin. While the match saw Athlétique win 2-1, Espérance still finished in first place and took home the trophy.
While Ganoiati has refereed many women's football matches throughout her career, Saturday's match marked her second time adjudicating a men's match at a professional level. She had made her debut in men's matches back in May 2017, when she took on the role of the lead referee at a second division match between Stade Tunisien and Union Monastir.
Over the weekend, she added a new achievement to her tally when she refereed in the Tunisian Premier League.
Speaking to France24 prior to the match, Ganoiati said she was initially surprised to learn she had been selected as a referee, admitting it would be "a challenge." Following the match, she described the experience as a success and said:
"I hope some will understand that women can do the job, even better than men sometimes."
Players and fans reportedly confirmed she did a good job, with Espérance player Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhan noting, "Fans were putting a lot of pressure on her, but still she was fantastic."
Ganoiati started off as a physical education teacher and football player before becoming a referee in 2012 and earning a spot on the Fédération Internationale de Football Association's (FIFA) list of international referees in 2015. As a PE teacher, she had refereed several men's matches in lower divisions.
Describing her experience as a female referee, Ganoiati previously said, "Some of the players are initially shocked to see a woman referee, but they soon forget about it and focus on their match."
Speaking to the BBC in 2018, she admitted feeling the pressure of representing women in the male-dominated field, saying:
"When I am given a chance I have to prove myself. If I fail they might not give other women the chance, and if I succeed, I will be given other chances and other women will be as well."
However, she assured she is treated as an equal among her male colleagues, noting that she has noticed an improvement in the general attitude toward female referees.