Reigning 2015-16 referee of the season Thando Ndzandzeka from Dutywa has made the cut again this year following his excellent job in the 2016-17 Premier Soccer League season.
The seasoned match official started officiating in matches played by local teams in Westonaria town in Johannesburg and that’s when he realised that he can go places with the profession, hence lending himself a nomination in the PSL Awards again in the same category he won last season.
After passing matric in 1999 Ndzandzeka stayed at home until he felt he needed to start working and that’s when he went job-hunting in the mining industry.
“It was only there in Gauteng I realised my love for match officiating and that’s why I decided to obtain qualifications,” he said.
He started officiating at a local level in the village called Berkkersdal during the 2003-4 season.
“I only realised that refereeing can take me far I became serious then I did the levels on laws of the game.
“Now I run fitness tests for fitness levels with West Rand Region,” he said.
His rise through the ranks was inevitable as he was recommended from the regional level to the provincial level in 2009.
“When I was at provincial level, in 2010 I was recommended to the national panel of SA Football Association (Safa) when I was spotted at the U21 SAB Tournament which was played in Durban,” he said.
He said the nomination means a lot to him and to the people who played a role in inspiring him in his career.
He is also grateful for all the support he has had.
“This is for everyone who kept on advising me and showing me that I must be confident and aim higher in my career,” he said.
He said hardwork put in training and match preparations were the most important aspects of refereeing.
“Doing my research and preparing and taking each match as a cup final is what drives me.
“Young people should focus on their goals, must be calm, and work very hard and take this refereeing career serious because it will benefit them in the end like it has with me,” he said.
He said good preparations for any match are a must, discipline and respect are also important aspects to good refereeing.
“My future plans for the sport are to see soccer developed more especially in the so-called rural areas.
“It won’t be possible without people like me to come down to where I come from to assist our province as I am also based here in Joburg,” he added.
Ndzandzeka will be up against fellow referees, Christopher Harrison and Phelelani Ndaba in his category.
The PSL Awards will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre on Monday night on July 10 and will be broadcast live on SABC and SuperSport 4.