Johannesburg – South Africa’s first female top-flight referee Akhona Makalima is set to represent the country at this year’s Fifa Women’s World Cup along with a host of other African officials.
The 34-year-old, who is no stranger to the biggest of stages, will be the only South African official present at the global showpiece set to take place in Australia and New Zealand later this year.
Makalima, who officiated at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, has progressed in leaps and bounds since her top-flight debut back in 2015 and has gone on to officiate at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, 2019 African Games and the CAF Champions League.
The Eastern Cape-born official’s last major tournament was last year’s Women Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) where Banyana Banyana were crowned champions in Morocco.
The commanding referee is not only a ‘no-nonsense official’ on the pitch but an incredible inspiration to women in football throughout the African continent who has persevered despite the challenges she faced.
Makalima will join Vincentia Amedome (Togo), Bouchra Karboubi (Morocco) and Salima Mukansanga (Rwanda) as the African refereeing contingent while Atezambong Fomo Carine (Cameroon), Chikotesha Diana (Zambia), Hamdi Soukaina (Morocco), Jermoumi Fatiha (Morocco), Njoroge Mary (Kenya), Kone Fanta (Mali) and Victoire Queency (Mauritius) will represent the continent as assistant referees.
Banyana Banyana, Zambia, Morocco, and Nigeria will be the four women’s teams that will represent Africa at the tournament in July and August.