11 April 2018 – Following an unfortunate ankle injury that ended her playing career, Nana Manaka refused to let it keep her off the playing field. The 25-year-old female referee is one of the most respected referees in the SAB League and ABC Motsepe League and this is because of her hard work and dedication to her craft.
Manaka, who also had a brief stint as a coach after taking over her village team, Vulture Ladies FC ventured into refereeing after identifying a lack of female referees in the game.
Her first attempt at being a referee is quite an odd incident. Her former club had a practise match where the referee could not make it and she was asked to be the whistle blower.
Manaka has never looked back since then, officiating tough matches in the ABC Motsepe League and SAB League in her SAFA Capricorn region of Limpopo.
“After that game (Practise Match), I explained to my then coach about how I felt about being a referee and how I would love to make a career out of being a referee. With my ankle injury, he understood and said he would speak to our Local Football Association (LFA) Head of Referees to give me a chance to prove myself” said Manaka.
The next month, the Radimang village born match official was already officiating matches at her LFA and later tasked with SAB League and ABC Motsepe League fixtures.
“I was very excited when I received an SMS from Mr Masekwa notifying me of my first ABC game to officiate as an assistant. The game was between Boyne Tigers and Ditlou FC and the which was an evenly balanced match” Manaka recalls.
“My dream is to officiate in a match between two national teams. It will take a lot of hard work and sacrifice but I am up for the challenge” concluded Manaka.