DOHA: The Asian Football Confederation has confirmed that Japan’s Yoshimi Yamashita will take charge of the AFC Asian Cup fixture between Australia and India on Saturday – a landmark appointment that will make her the first woman to referee a match in the tournament.

It is the latest feather in the cap of pioneering Yamashita, who is one of five trailblazing female match officials to be involved in the 18th edition of Asia’s crown jewel in Qatar.

She will be supported in the Group B encounter at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium by assistant referees Makoto Bozono and Naomi Teshirogi – an iconic Japanese trio who made history as the first women officials to oversee matches in the AFC Cup™ (2019), AFC Champions League™ (2022) and J1 League (2023).

The first professional woman referee from Japan, Yamashita earned her FIFA badge in 2015 and has since gone on to smash multiple barriers. The Tokyo native was the first woman to manage a J1 League match in September 2022 and was notably one of six women match officials appointed for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 – the first ever appointment of women match officials in the history of the global showpiece.

Yamashita was the main referee for the opening match of the recent FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023, where she went on to officiate two more games and served as fourth official for another two. It was her second FIFA Women’s World Cup, following her debut in 2019 in France. Having embarked on her refereeing journey with the support of fellow Tokyo Gakugei University alumna Bozono, Yamashita also has experience at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup™ (2018 and 2022) and the Olympic Games (2020).

The match between Australia and India is the second to take place at the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ and kicks off at 2.30pm local time, with two more to follow on the same day – China PR against Tajikistan in Group A at 5.30pm at the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium and Uzbekistan versus Syria in Group B at 8.30pm at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium.