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Mahboob Gulestani on being an L1O match official

By League1 Ontario staff, 05/04/23, 11:45AM EDT


Provincial referee Mahboob Gulestani answers some questions about match officiating and his career with the whistle.

Mahboob officiating

What are your highlights from the recent training programme and why?

It was an extremely useful program for all the referees, whether they were experienced or new officials. We learned a lot from many top officials and instructors about the latest laws of the game and how to implement them on the field of play.

How has the training programme prepared you for the 2023 L1O season?

The training program has prepared us mentally and physically. In the practical sessions, the majority of the referees passed their fitness test in the first try, and these sessions also gave us the opportunity to build relationships with other fellow referees from across the province.

What's your pregame meal and why?

One of my pregame meals is salad with grilled chicken, which I eat at least three hours before the game. Salad and chicken is not heavy and it digests faster compared to red meat or another heavy meal.

I also make sure that I am hydrated 24 hours before the game, making sure to avoid potential injuries. There are times where I eat a banana as a snack a few hours prior to kickoff if the option of salad and chicken is not available.

Which L1O official in particular would you like to work a gameday with in 2023?

There are many outstanding officials that I would love to work with on a gameday; I get along with most of them very well. If I were in the middle and I was to choose, I’d have Marko Grubisic and Ehsaan Khan as my assistant referees, or other officials from Hamilton. Marko and Ehsaan are very passionate referees and they have goal of moving forward to the highest level possible. They are focused in every game and take matches very seriously from the minute we enter the facility until we leave. They are professional, confident, always have stats of all the teams, and they make sure we manage the game with best of our ability.

If I was the assistant referee or fourth official, I’d wish to work with Filip Dujic (as middle referee) who is one of the finest referees I have worked with.

How did you get into officiating?

I got into officiating as I have always loved soccer, it’s the number one sport in my life. It gives me the opportunity to stay connected with the game and give back to Ontario and Canada soccer.

What is your earliest officiating memory?

My earliest memory of officiating is during my playing days. All the players accepted me as the referee to have the whistle in my hand, and they always thought that I was fair and not biased, even if my brother was playing in one of the teams.

Why should other people become an official?

They can make extra money, they can continue their passion and have soccer as part of their life, and they can be the leader the in their local communities. It makes our personalities stronger and we will develop tools to manage difficult situations in our personal or professional lives. We are involved with people of many backgrounds and cultures.

Good referees will help Canadian soccer grow even higher in the FIFA rankings. If games are managed properly, a lot of youngsters will continue with their passion rather than quitting and parents will enjoy the game more.

How long has officiating been a part of your life, and what inspires you to continue being a match official?

I have been involved with soccer since I was four or five years old, and I officially registered as a referee around 2011. League1 Ontario inspires me to continue being a match official as it gives me sense of achievement and personal growth as a referee and as a leader in my community.

Mahboob and his crew smile at the camera