Meet SA football’s female officials

2011-09-03 19:57

For the first time since the formation of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) 14 years ago two female referees have made it onto the national referees panel.

Sebabatso Malope (23) and Noleen Daniels (20) have followed in the footsteps of Deidre Mitchell, who was the first
female referee to officiate in the domestic league in 2007. Mitchell is currently on maternity leave.

Malope and Daniels, who both came through the Vodacom League ranks, have increased the number of female officials in the 2011/12 national panel to five.

The other whistle ladies are Baaitse Manca, Assistance Sokhela and Nomvula Masilela.

All three are assistant referees.

Malope, from Central Western Jabavu in Soweto, has already been exposed to high-profile matches in the three years she has been a match official.

Apart from Banyana Banyana’s friendly match against Mozambique two weeks ago she also handled Banyana’s international friendlies against Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia this year.

“I am excited at the challenge,” says the Safa Gauteng official.

Malope switched from being an assistant to being a referee last year. She explains that she enjoyed every minute of being the “lady in charge” in the 12 months she has been officiating.

“My dream is to officiate in a match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates,” she says.

“It’ll take hard work to reach that level of handling top PSL games but anything is possible.”

Daniel’s love for refereeing dates back to her high school days.

“I developed the interest to become a referee during my school days,” says Daniels, of the Safa Cape Town region.

“Coaching in sports was compulsory as one of the subjects at school and I chose soccer. I then had a choice to coach or become a referee and I chose to officiate. I want to make my way onto the Fifa panel.”

Safa head of referees, Adeel Carelse, says: “We encourage a higher number of women representation at the highest level and it is purely by project equity.

“It is now very much in our plans to nominate our female officials into the Fifa panel.”

Carelse says Malope and Daniels won’t be rushed into action.

“For starters, they will mostly be deployed as fourth officials and gradually appointed as match-day referees once they are settled,” she says.

She adds that about 70 aspiring female referees are expected to undergo training in the second phase of next year.

“In this process we ask all provinces to give us their best female referees and we will be able to identify those with potential.”

Malope and Daniels were picked in the first phase of refereeing in January. While Masilela, Sokhela and Manca qualify to make the Fifa panel Malope and Daniels are still below the qualification age of 25 to make the international list.

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