Referees Makalima and Tom fly South African flag high

The leading referees in South Africa, Abongile Tom and Akhona Makalima.

Although there is still a long way to go for the South African national football team, the country is doing quite well in terms of refereeing. Referees like Victor Gomes, who officiated the World Cup games in Qatar last year, Daniel Bennett, Jarome Damon, Petros Mathebela, Andile Ncobo, Ian MCleod, Lwandile Mfiki, Victor Hlungwane, and others are among the South African referees who have distinguished themselves at the highest level. Following them are two referees who gained recognition in CAF and FIFA games: Akhona Makalima and Abongile Tom.

The good news for South African football is that Makalima and Tom are two of the 25 referees who have recently signed employment contracts and will be paid by the CAF. This is the first CAF effort targeted at hiring referees just to deal with football only. This took place following Makalima’s selection by FIFA as one of the 33 referees in charge of the women’s World Cup in New Zealand this year. Makalima is the first female referee FIFA approved and utilised in one of its major tournaments.

Simultaneously, CAF makes extensive use of her in their games. Makalima expressed her dream to serve as a referee for World Cup games to this newspaper a few years back. She will experience this this year, and because of the excellent work she does on the field, she has a promising future.

Although Makalima from Ngqamakhwe has been a referee for a while, Tom has also arrived with guns blazing and has a promising future. He has been used by CAF in games for the Confederation Cup and Chan Cup, and FIFA will use him in the FIFA Under 20 tournament this year in Argentina. Makalima and Tom are the leading referees in the Premier Soccer League paid by the South African Football Association.