UFH Human Movement Science Honours student appointed as Referee of professional football league

Read time: 2 mins

Yanelisa Phakathi has been appointed as a referee in the professional Hollywood football league. The 24-year-old from Bizana is currently doing her honours degree in Human Movement Studies at the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Interestingly, growing up she did not play any active sports and only developed an interest in Frisbee after joining UFH. Thanks to the HMS department that introduced her to a box smart short course in rugby, she chose refereeing, “I thought to myself that the only thing that I'm more familiar with is soccer since my friends used to play soccer as well and I grew up watching it on television so I decided to go for football refereeing instead of rugby”, said Yanelisa.

She started refereeing in October 2021 and holds a level 4 refereeing certificate which currently puts her in the national panel doing both Hollywood and Sasol Super leagues.

The young ref describe officiating as challenging, especially “for us as women but it is very exciting at the same time. We do not see many woman referees while we are capable.”

Like any ambitious young referee, Yanelisa wants to see herself officiating in the Premier Soccer League and be a FIFA referee one day and follow in the footsteps of the likes of Akhona Makalima, one of the leading football officials in the continent.

She urged other fellow young ladies who are passionate to go for it. “There are plenty opportunities in the sports industry and few women referees in the country. It requires a lot of training and fitness tests at the start of every league.”