/ MEDIA STATEMENT / This content is not written by Creamer Media, but is a supplied media statement.
Women are making their mark in football officiating in South Africa.
As we enter Women’s Month, the role of women in football was highlighted when the South African Football Association (SAFA) recently appointed its first female vice-president, Ria Ledwaba, and the Premier Soccer League (PSL) followed suit with the appointments of Mato Madlala and Dr Rejoice Vakashile Simelane onto their executive committees.
At grassroots level, the Engen Knockout Challenge provides an excellent platform for women to showcase their abilities in a variety of roles, including: officiating, team management, media, and strength and conditioning coaching.
One such success story is that of Mamelodi Sundowns liaison officer Busisiwe Sijora, who recently acted as the Sundowns academy team manager during the Johannesburg leg of the Engen Knockout Challenge.
Cape Town-born Sijora is a passionate football lover, having played the game, coached and now managed an academy team of South African football giants, Sundowns.
“I started playing in high school (Oaklands High School),” says Sijora. “After school, I studied Coaching and Officiating Sciences at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and was offered a place in an internship programme that placed me at Sundowns.
“Since then I’ve been involved with the 2016 Engen Knockout Challenge and Champ of Champs as a volunteer. This year I returned to the tournament as a team manager,” she adds proudly.
Sijora’s talents are vast and varied. At Sundowns, she is a vital part of the club’s machinery that has maintained their status as one of Africa’s premium clubs.
Sijora is not however the only women to have showcased their ability at the Engen Knockout Challenge.
Other success stories include that of Sebabatso Malope who officiated at the Engen Knockout Challenge, Johannesburg. Malope is highly regarded, having also officiated in Banyana Banyana’s friendly matches against Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia.
Another match official with an excellent record is Lindiwe Chamale, who is the longest-serving female match official at the Engen Knockout Challenge. Chamale has officiated at the tournament in Durban for the last seven years.
After seeing the need for female officials in the Durban area, Lindiwe made enquiries to start her journey to become a match official. With the assistance of SAFA eThekwini, she completed her courses.
Since then the Engen Knockout Challenge has been enriched by her presence and her services.
Last but not least is the story of Thandeka Khezwa who played for Amazulu FC ladies and for Banyana from 1998 – 2005. Her immense love for the game drove her to take up refereeing.
Thandeka also has a SAFA level 1 coaching badge and is planning to achieve the refereeing qualification that will see her officiate at PSL and FIFA levels.
As the Engen Knockout Challenge and the Engen Champ of Champs continue to grow, Engen is proud to provide a platform for women who excel in their respective areas of expertise in sport.