Retired match official and now SAFA referee instructor, Jerome Damon, expressed how proud he was seeing ZakheleSiwela jetting off to this year's FIFA World Cup in Russia, also adding that it's the Association's ambition to see to it that they continue producing more quality officials who would make the country proud in the coming years.
Damon, who's current focus is developing up and coming young refereeing talent in the Cape district, stated that officiating on the highest level should be any match official's dream.
Damon officiated in the 2010 FIFA World Cup before he decided to hang up his whistle four years later from the beautiful game.
I'm very proud of ZakheleSiwela, Damon said. He performed really well in that tournament (FIFA World Cup) and that's what we like to see. We want to see our officials elevating in the game and being counted amongst the best in the world. Our drive now is to push and make sure that we are the best on the continent when it comes to producing the best talent there is in the game. We want our officials to be up there with the best of the best (in the world). It's going to require a whole lot of work though. However, it's a challenge that we'll have to embrace.
That challenge, Damon has already started tackling in from a developmental level. The 46-year old English teacher at Bridgetown High School in Cape Town added that the group of up and coming officials he's working with in his district are already showing promising signs of wanting to get in a level he believes they can in the game.
I'm working with a bunch of youngsters who some are still in school or just completed their matric. My role is to identify talent and help develop it in what it can possibly become. The response has been great. I also started officiating when I was about 15-16 years or so. It was a league match in our local LFA and one of my friends asked me to officiate because the match official for that match decided not to pitch. And that's how I got hooked. Never left that role ever since. It is now my responsibility to help develop the next generation.
Source: South African Football Association