Premier Soccer League referee, Akhona “SheRef” Makalima has revealed how she jumped on the bed like a little girl when she heard the news that she was among the 55 referees nominated for the Fifa Women’s World Cup in 2023.
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Makalima is among the referees from which a final selection will be made for the tournament to be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
“I jumped on the bed when I found out that I was shortlisted to officiate at the next Fifa Women’s World Cup,” Makalima told SAfm this week.
“People think I’m joking. (But) It’s been a dream of mine. It’s the pinnacle for our sport. I’m so happy.
“I had a chance in 2019 to officiate at the Women’s World Cup in France. But I chose an opportunity that was presented to me to take part in a Global Sport Mentorship program in the US. It was a very good networking opportunity and I have no regrets about that.”
She also revealed that she had never been disrespected by players and they have been treating her the same way they treat her male colleagues.
“To be fair, players have never disrespected me. I’ve never been made to feel unwelcome on the field. But there was one player who verbally abused me after I gave him a red card in Cape Town. I told him he must never do that again.”
And the most challenging game she has ever officiated in? “The Cape Town City and Golden Arrows is the toughest game I’ve officiated in so far. It was very physical and they were running very hard, they ran the whole game. I thought I’m being tested here, but I also took it as a challenge. “