PSL referee Akhona Makalima says she aims to take it one step at a time until she reaches the global football stage – the Fifa World Cup.
Makalima jetted in to the country last week after spending a week in Rabat, the capital of Morocco, where she attended the Caf Referee Elite Women’s course for the third time in a row. Makalima said the training included class sessions where she learnt about football and herself, and integrated sessions on the field were an eye-opener for her.
“We recapped on the amendments of the law, and on the changes made to them. We also learnt more about modern football.
“Football is becoming fast-paced so you need quick refereeing to meet the standards of modern football.”
She said learning to be a smart referee, which is to understand the style of play of teams and individuals players, would help her a step closer to her dreams.
“The training there is about understanding football without reading the law alone, but you must be able interpret the law.
“Even when a team is warming up you observe and then you are able to anticipate their moves during the game. If you are looking at a goalkeeper you are able to tell where they will serve the ball.
“Communication with the team you are working with as a referee is important because if you think since you have the whistle you’re the boss – it doesn’t work like that on the field of play. You must be able to communicate without a communication system so we learnt how do you work like that and how do you complement each other as match officials.”
Makalima said the course not only offered football officiating education but also about trust and integrity
“They went on to teach us how to conduct ourselves in and outside football because my title goes beyond the field of play.
“Blending in with other people with different cultures is the most important aspect of officiating because the common language after games is fair play.”
The decorated young referee said she dedicated herself to work towards her life goal – which is heading to the global stage
“I want to go and officiate at the World Cup and I want to be consistent with the work I’m doing and I’m willing to take baby steps until I get there.
“Because in life you start small – like you to go the U17 World Cup, then U20 and then senior World Cup and thanks to Safa-BCM for their support.
“I went to the Afcon Cup last year and I’m working towards going there again next year.”
Makalima said she did motivational speaking in her spare time and she was busy working on a programme called InterRefs that will enable her to motivate and inspire other young referees to work hard for what they wanted in life.