Umpiring is no easy job …meet the country’s top Netball Umpires

By Micheal Uugwanga

BEING a netball umpire/referee is often a thankless career which pays peanuts and yet stressful as umpires-cum-referees are always at the centre of controversy which give way to criticism.

Confidente Sport this week caught up with some of the country’s renowned netball umpires/referees who have made names for themselves, to talk about their journey into umpiring.

Despite netball being perceived as a female sport, men are among the best netball umpires, a sign that the sport of netball gives equal opportunities to every gender to be part of the netball community and Namibia is no exception to this.

Bradley Jadine Geigub, officially became an umpire after completing school in 2019, even though he has never played netball in his career.

Geigub was born in Grootfontein.

“I attended a three day umpire course in Okahandja. Super great, although we  are faced with challenges the career is awesome. The love I have for sports led me   down this  pathway and of course with the financial help of Beulah Enslin.

I’m a Netball Namibia (NN) Gold medal holder which I was awarded in August this year by Namibia Umpire Union (NUA).
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I recently (2 weeks ago) attended the National Umpires clinic course in Windhoek. I am still waiting for the Africa Grading result from NUA,” Geigub.

Umpiring is a source of income which brings food on the table for Geigub, while searching for a full-time job.

There are only two umpires who Geigub looks up on, and  they are Ambrosius Eichab of Namibia and Abiel M Lekulo of Lesotho.

He also said that he will continue to umpire until his body and legs calls it a day.

“So far I got no other job besides umpiring. Other than getting financial support from it, you get to be famous and interact with others.You put your emotions away the moment you step onto the courts because the games consisting of national players can be hectic and rough.
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“Ambrosuis Eichab besides being close friends, holds the highest umpiring grading in Namibia. Abiel M Lekulo- Also holds the highest umpiring grading in his country (Lesotho),” Geigub said.

One of the most loved and beautiful umpire the country has, is Albertina Amadhila, a  former netball player who played as a centre (C) and also as a wing attacker (WA) for the then Windhoek College of Education, now University of Namibia (unam) Khomasdal campus.

She is a teacher by profession at Eros Primary School in Windhoek.

“I was 10 when I started playing netball at primary level at my village and continued playing at high school. After high school I also played for Windhoek College of Education as a center and as a wing attack before I stopped playing in 2014. Currently I only play for fun and not serious netball.

“I am also a netball coach, as I started coaching at Auas primary school in Katutura, Windhoek, before I developed to become an umpire, so that at the same time I coach and teach the players the correct rules of playing the game. I even bought my own whistle.

“I am happy with my umpiring despite the pressure it comes with, however criticism will always be there. One just has to be strong and calm when umpiring,” Amadhila said.

The country’s most decorated and no nonsense umpire,   Ambrosuis Eichab has been an umpire since 2016, ever since Military School in Okahandja announced that they needed an umpire for their league matches.