31 July 2023 – The South African Football Association (SAFA) has concluded two five-day workshops for referees on the new laws of the game amendments, as well as new concepts in law interpretation and implementation.

The workshop, which was held at the Garden Court Hotel at OR Tambo in Johannesburg, was aimed at preparing the referees technically, physically, and mentally for the 2023/24 season.

The workshop was attended by over 80 match officials and 36 assessors from all of the country’s nine provinces who were selected based on their potential and consistently good performances.

The referees were exposed to various topics such as the Identification of Challenges, Tactical Fouls, offside, Positioning and Reading of the game, Game Management, Teamwork, fitness tests, nutrition and importantly, VAR basics.

The workshop was facilitated by the FIFA Technical Instructor, Mr Ali Ahmed from Somalia and FIFA Physical Instructor, Mr Mohamed Houssein Ali from Djibouti. SAFA Technical Instructors included Ms Deidre Zealand, Mr Lebogang Daniels, Mr Enock Molefe, Mr Paulo Marques & SAFA Physical Instructor, Ms Refilwe Tshigeng.

The workshop was a success and was designed to equip the referees with the latest knowledge and skills to officiate matches at the highest level.

What is more exciting is that the referees have shown a great understanding of the new laws of the game and how to apply them correctly.

They have also demonstrated a high level of fitness and professionalism. The SAFA Referees department is confident that the officials are ready for the new season and hope that they carry the high standard of professionalism onto the field of play.

Despite the negativity that is often associated with officiating, South Africa has consistently been producing excellent match officials. Despite having recently lost Victor Gomes, who now serves as the SAFA Chair of the Referees Committee, a new talent has emerged in Abongile Tom who has, over the past six months, represented South Africa at CHAN, the FIFA U20 World Cup in South America and at the recently ended U23 AFCON tournament.

SAFA currently has Akhona Makalima, who is representing the refereeing fraternity at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia/New Zealand.

‘’We will always be grateful to the South African Football Association (SAFA) for its vision and commitment to develop South African referees to the highest possible level. We have a strong refereeing department that oversees all aspects of refereeing, from recruitment to training to appointments. There is a clear path for referees to progress from grassroots all the way to an elite level. Our talent pool is growing daily, and we have dedicated referees who are eager to learn and improve. The future of refereeing in South Africa is very good,’’ said SAFA head of referees department, Abdul Ebrahim.