MASERU – Top local netball umpire Chakatsa Lephole is set to officiate at the Pent Netball Series in Windhoek, Namibia next month. This will be Lephole’s first international appointment this year after he officiated at the Diamond Challenge in Limpopo, South Africa in November last year.
Lephole’s exceptional refereeing is not only noticeable at international level as last Saturday he was awarded the Umpire of the year accolade by the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC) at the Lesotho Annual Sports Awards (LASA) in Maseru.
He won the award for the second time in a row after scooping it for the first time last year. “I feel honoured and blessed to be recognized by my own country, especially match officials,” said Lephole in an interview with Public Eye on Monday.
“Such things do not happen every day so when they do, we should embrace them. To me, this says I should put more effort in my job, at home, regionally, continentally and at the international stage.” He added: “Of course that will keep me and Lesotho in high rankings as I’m currently among the 42 world class netball umpires.”
The Namibia Pent Netball Series will be held from May 7-12, and one of the contestants in the tournament is the Botswana’s senior women national team Dinaledi. Namibia are the defending champions after winning last year’s edition of the tournament when they beat Zambia 54-43 in the final.
That was the second edition of the Pent Netball Series, the first edition was won by Zimbabwe in 2017. The Diamond Challenge and the upcoming Pent Netball Series are not Lephole’s only international appointments. The top umpire has among others also officiated at the Netball World Youth Cup in Gaborone, Botswana in 2017.
“To me this says I am still doing well, as getting those appointments means I am on the right track,” Lephole said. He also officiated at the African Youth Games, African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Under-20 Youth Games and Commonwealth Games in Botswana Zimbabwe and Scotland, all in 2014.