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“Opportunity of a lifetime” – Paavo Mustonen

The Rarotonga based former Cook Islands international footballer and FIFA Assistant Referee was requested to representative the Cook Islands Football Association as an Assistant Referee for the OFC Champions League.
Mustonen could not turn down this opportunity as it was only his second time officiating international matches.
“Vanuatu was my first international refereeing experience last year. The first international game in Vanuatu was the hardest for me, but I became more confident. By the end of the tournament I looked forward to the next international opportunity” Mustonen says.
With his aspiration in football, he is following in the footsteps of his mother who was a player for the Arorangi Club and his sister who is also a referee in the Cook Islands.
“I followed my Mum to training when I was eight years old and fell in love with the game.
“My younger sister Regina was refereeing seriously and one day an Assistant Referee didn’t turn up,” Mustonen says, “So I helped out with her games in that role and was told that I had potential and was recommended for FIFA training and it grew from there,” Mustonen added.
The former U-17 international still plays football for the Rarotonga club but with five years of refereeing in the Cook Islands under his belt, Mustonen’s future looks brighter as a top match official.
Mustonen has been named as Assistant Referee for the match between Tafea FC and Hekari United at Govind Park, Ba, on Monday 7 April.