Renowned veteran match official, Sylvester Ndaba, has commended the South African Breweries’ partnership with the South African Football Association (SAFA) for empowering SAB League match officials. Ndaba spoke at a Media Day on Tuesday, held at the High-Performance Centre in Pretoria, where the week-long SAB League Match Officials Skills Camps is currently ongoing.
El Professor, as Ndaba is affectionately known for his vast knowledge of law of the beautiful game, is one of the most respected retired referees to have ever come out of the country, and has over the years, been involved in multiple courses such as the SAB League Skills Camp. The former TV pundit, has praised the SAB League’s ability to strengthen the country’s officiating from grassroots level and across platforms, similarly to how the league has groomed and developed some of the country’s top football players.
“Talented players such as Percy Tau were developed in the SAB League, this is a clear indication of how the SAB League progresses our football. Amongst the many initiatives hosted by SAB in partnership with SAFA, it is refreshing to have a program that focuses on the development of match officials. One of our former graduates is Akhona Makalima who is here. She started officiating in the SAB League after she had undergone a program similar to this, “Ndaba said
The current crop of participants is dominated mainly by women, who are looking to emulate the 30-year old Makalima. “She is now the only female referee who officiates men’s matches in the Premier Soccer League (PSL). Further to that, she runs fitness test for men, not women,” continued Ndaba. “That is a feat some of the men do not even get to reach. However, she did. I am very proud of her. Even when she officiates oversees, she performs,” Ndaba proudly proclaimed.
Makalima, who has been attending some of the ongoing Skills Camp classes at the High-Performance Centre, has been sharing her experiences and knowledge during her time with the budding whistle men/women. “If you look at the participants that are here, they are very young, it is at this crucial time that we need to start planting the seed. By the time they are grown enough to officiate at the MDC, NFD and even PSL level – they will be world-class referees by then, I believe. These young men and women here, are already set-up for success with the influence of the #SABLeague. It is also great that SAB and SAFA develops coaches, players and even match officials. This will continue to benefit our football at top level in the long run,” concluded Makalima.
article by Nicholas Munzhedzi