Women’s work in soccer is a constant topic of conversation, but refereeing is often overlooked. After all, it is under their guidance that games sometimes want not only to watch but also to be inspired to play online games at playamo.com/en-NZ, because they show remarkable professionalism.
Akhona is not only the first female referee in South Africa but also an incredible competitor who overcame all the odds with her confidence, will, and strength to become a pioneer in her field.
In a recent interview, she talked about how she has used her position as a pioneer in the women’s games to empower and encourage other young South African girls to think beyond practical boundaries and open their own doors by taking an interest in sports at all levels.
Growing up in the helpless Nqamakwe district of the Eastern Cape meant that despite her physical attributes and speed, Akhona had little access to any playing programs.
But tht didn’t stop her, and she says her path to becoming a judge wasn’t easy, especially for a woman.
“In most male-dominated fields, women have to work twice as hard because we start on the back foot. You realize you’re being turned down for jobs because you’re a woman,” she said.
Those with ancient notions of ladies in sports rarely liked the essence of Akhona is a fine, skillful round of soccer.
“Regardless of whether you’re terrific, [the selectors] will pass you over because they think the ladies don’t have those qualities or that everyone is influenced by different feelings when choosing a lady,” she said.
“Men are supposed to be better at the game, and as a lady, you constantly have to prove yourself, no matter how great you are. The moment you and the man score the same in the scores, you need to do everything you can to show you’re better because they’ll pick the man if you don’t.”
She says she copes with gender bias and segregation by constantly working on herself.
“You need to work on yourself to convince yourself – and them too – that you can. You need to stop doubting your abilities and possessing them.” The gambling business is beset by sexual orientation issues, and many ladies were told after a while that they were inadequate.
“I aspired to be here, and I wouldn’t want to come here being just a fraction or to add to the numbers – I need uniformity because I am equal in strength, ability, and desire. You have to put resources into yourself to say you can occupy a room like this,” she said.
It’s not just about being cool at what you do, Akhona said: “It has to do with banging on the door, demanding a seat at the table and raising your voice at the table, because that will open the exact same entrance for the next lady.”
However, she warns that ladies should be sensible and not seek the best seat right away, but gradually move up to where they need to be.
“We are human before we become anything else,” Akhona says.
“We have to show our humanity and fight for change by affirming our humanity so that we, as women, are not seen simply as the job we are assigned.”
Akhona has unwavering confidence in success and received her first FIFA credential in 2014, which meant she could take part in world-class matches.
She has worked hard to get where she is today and to climb the career ladder.
“I couldn’t get into the CAF without going through the PSL first, and I can’t go directly to the world championships without going through the CAF, you know?”
Akhona states you need to know the cycle, train consistently and understand that there is a deadline for each achievement, and when you haven’t reached your goal, go home and do some introspection.
“You need to look for meaning in people’s words: maybe they’re judging you for doing something wrong, or for being a woman.”
Finally, she says, if you are successful, you need to own it.
“I wouldn’t show it off, impose it on people, but I have to walk with my head held high, knowing that I have met and exceeded my own assumptions.” Respect others and understand who helped you achieve what you do.”
For Akhona, it was her family who showed her that she is limitless and her prosperity is unstoppable. Moreover, she is eternally grateful to them for this.
Akhona plays an important role in a class of influential ladies from various fields who lead the #SheOwnsHerSuccess lobby. They push different ladies to proudly own their prosperity by sharing their own excursions into progress.