Meet Namibia’s top female referee

By Michael Uugwanga

NAMIBIAN football followers should not be surprised to see Vistoria  Shangula officiating matches in the Namibia Premier League (NPL), Confederations of African Football (CAF) or World Cup after she obtained her CAF Elite A Women Referees certificate in October.

She is also the first and only Namibian to date to obtain a CAF Elite A qualification, a feat that not even leading Namibian referee Jackson Mbavaza has attained, as he holds only the CAF Elite C licence.

Shangula’s qualification is similar to that of former Namibia Football Association (NFA) coordinator and education instructor Edwardt Boy-Boy Ndjadila.

Namibia currently does not have a woman referee in the NPL or at any CAF or FIFA competitions, with former referee Queen Manga (now retired) the last female referee to officiate in the NPL.

Shangula was awarded the CAF A certificate after attending the course in Djibouti from 25 to 29 October.

Speaking to Confidente Sport upon her arrival from Djibouti, an excited Shangula said she already knows what she wants to achieve with her qualifications and that is to become a top Namibian referee.

“We were 33 women that attended the course and I was the only one from Namibia. I’m very proud to be awarded the qualification and therefore would like to encourage more women to obtain such a qualification if they want to become referees in the country. This is just the beginning of more things to come.

“My dream is to officiate more matches and the ultimate goal has always been to be the first woman referee from Namibia to officiate at the World Cup. Do not be surprised to see me refereeing in the NPL or in CAF competitions, such as the Champions’ league or even the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) matches,” said Shangula.

Shangula (27) is no stranger to the rules of the game as she is a former footballer and during her playing days featured for both the women senior football team the Brave Gladiators and local female club Tura Magic Ladies.

She was part of the Brave Gladiators side at the 2014 CAF African Women’s Championship that was hosted in Windhoek, with Namibia reaching the knockout stage, only to lose to eventual winners Nigeria 2-0.

She retired from football in 2017 and is currently a gym instructor.

“It’s a great opportunity to display to young girls that your background does not determine your future. Hard work, determination and discipline are the way forward,” Shangula noted.

NFA’s head of women desk, Jacky Gertze, said Shangula’s achievement has opened doors for many Namibian girls to pursue a career in refereeing. “There are opportunities that our girls need to grab. It’s very easy for women to obtain such a qualification because we do not have many women in this field. I’m very happy for her,” said Gertze.