SA referee Makalima urges football fans to obey government guidelines
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JOHANNESBURG - South African referee Akhona Makalima has a strong message for fans to follow government guidelines to save lives and get football back in action across the Southern African region.
Makalima, who was the only female referee on the Premier Soccer League (PSL) panel, is a rising star of African officiating and has also worked on Caf and Fifa platforms.
She received her Fifa badge in 2014, and was recently invited to a Global Sport Mentorship programme in the USA.
“I want to urge our Cosafa [Southern African] family, during this testing time, to follow authorities restrictions by maintaining social distancing, do not touch your face, nose or eyes.
“Continue to wash your eyes and stay at home, and if you are coughing, you should cover your mouth and nose.
“Let’s do this for ourselves and for our loved ones. We want to see you on the field of play again!”
Makalima admits her first dream was to play for Bafana Bafana, but that was not to be and she instead turned to officiating.
“I played football for most of my youth and I badly wanted to play for Banyana,” she told City Press.
“At the time, the Eastern Cape didn’t even have a competitive team. There was a lack of development structures and I stopped playing soccer in 2011.”
It is a familiar story, though women’s football has made great strides in South Africa in recent years, culminating in the country qualifying for the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup in France.