India's Rowan Arumughan, who officiated in the Lionel Messi-led Argentina versus Venezuela FIFA friendly in Kolkata in 2011, says a referee cannot afford to be star-struck. he FIFA referee on Monday termed the match at the Salt Lake Stadium his "most memorable".
Arumughan said it was key to not get star-struck as he took charge of a match which saw Messi captain Argentina for the first time."That is the most memorable match for me. Gautam sir (Col. Goutam Kar (Retd.) and Ravi sir (Ravi Shankar) asked me to keep it simple and count it just as another match," Rowan told www.the-aiff.com.
"I still remember Gautam sir's words: Don't get star-struck. At the end of the day, you are the referee. They may be Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria but you are the boss at the ground. Act as you act in the domestic matches." Rowan always prefers to study the players beforehand which helps him take decisions without much fuss.
Javier Mascherano, Messi, Angel Di Maria, Sergio Aguero the bigwigs of the La Albiceleste used to represent FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester City whereas the Venezuelan boys used to play in lesser-popular leagues which were not telecast in India. "I could follow the Argentine players from EPL, La Liga, Bundesliga but Venezuelan players used to play in those leagues which were not broadcast in India. Ravi Sir advised me to get clips," Rowan said.
"Both teams played the same brand of possession-based football, they were looking to cut in diagonally from the wings to hurl attack on the opponents." Dinesh Nair and Biplab Poddar were the assistant referees while Pratap Singh was the fourth official that day.
"I started my career with Pratap on the same day, back in 1999. Biplab da was senior and much more experienced than me, so was Dinesh who had already done quite a few Kolkata Derby matches until then." Argentina rode on Nicolas Otamendi's solitary goal to win the match 1-0. Rowan also said there is very little difference between AFC Elite referees from India and the ones from other countries.