Saturday, November 18, 2017
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" Nature knows no pause in progress and development, and attaches her curse on all inaction. "

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

By Mali Andisiwe

At 21 years old, Mdantsane born Athuxolo Athie Madela is the youngest referee officiating games in the National First Division (NFD) and Premier Soccer League (PSL) after he was appointed in February.
The day he was appointed Madela made his first appearance in a PSL clash between Chiefs and Cosmos.
Madela is over the moon with his appointment in elite football. “I was appointed as fourth official for the second leg PSL game between Kaizer Chiefs and Jomo Cosmos in Port Elizabeth after the African Cup of Nations. It was a real humdinger of a game which ended one-all. The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan stadium was packed to its capacity and the atmosphere was electrifying".

South African Football Association (SAFA), Eastern Cape provincial referee’s appointment officer, Mason McKay said Madela is one of the few referees taking every opportunity coming his way.
“Madela is young, energetic and passionate about his job and has recently been given the whistle to officiate games at this level. We are very impressed with the way he is handling games,” said MacKay.

Madela who makes his living from refereeing, started officiating in local leagues like the Mdantsane Football League, SAB Castle League and the Vodacom League.

He said the road to success was not an easy one. “You deal with a lot of different kinds of people and you have to stay positive and focus on your vision and mission. My dream is to conquer the world”.

His inspiration and mentor, Lwandile Chris Mfiki, who is in the Fifa referee panel said: “Athi and I were identified in workshops conducted by SAFA in the East London region as we come from the same township. The first time I saw him officiate I was impressed about the way he handled the game and the good quality he possessed in the field of play. Now he is under my wing and I can assure you he is going places if he stays humble and strong”.

Madela gives back to the community by volunteering at social events and by giving advice and guidance to young people. He said youth in sport must keep discipline, follow their dreams and work hard, not forgetting to balance sport and school work.

His proud neighbour, Mr Alfred Zongezile Noti said: “I noticed he liked soccer. The kids would play in my yard with my son who is a little bit older than him. He progressed and we supported him all the way, praying with him, encouraging him to stay close to God. I heard the news of his promotion, I feel joyous and I will have to congratulate him specially.”
Madela attributed his success to his family for giving him the necessary support and also to referee Mfiki who played a vital role in getting him where he is today.

“All credit must go to Chris [Mfiki] for being patient and giving me the chance to explore the talent in me,” said Madela. He added that his short term goal is to climb the ladder of success onto the continental stage. – WSU-SNA

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