Why Lungameni chose refereeing

• By Michael Uugwanga

AFTER receiving her FIFA/Confederation of African Football Association (CAF) accreditation badge last month as an assistant referee, Eveline ‘Alex’ Lungameni has explained the reasons why she decided to pursue a career in refereeing.

Not a well known footballer during her playing days for 21 Brigade, NamPol, NUST FC in the Namibia Football Association (NFA) Women Super League, Lungameni has over the past two years established herself as one of the country’s leading assistant referees in both male and female football competitions.

Lungameni (29) was a footballer since she was 13, for Omusati region as a goalkeeper before playing club football in 2010/2011 season for Further Fighters in Windhoek’s lower division before she called it a day in 2020 due to training fatigue.

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Ironically, Lungameni started developing a passion for refereeing in 2017 while still playing and at the same time refereeing in the Khomas region men’s second division and in the women super league.

In 2020 after retiring from playing she was then promoted to be part of the FIFA/CAF panel of referees.

“I used to play in different positions …

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a goalkeeper, and defender and in midfield, so basically I can say that I was a mobile player. It was in 2020 when I decided to quit playing because whenever I reached home after training I would be so tired and hardly got enough time to rest.

“I am a qualified electrician from the Windhoek Vocational Training Center. At the same time also I did not want to lose my full-time job, so it was hard for me to be a footballer, referee and also working. Remember also that there is no football in the country,” said Lungameni.

She said that her parents were always against her idea of her being involved with football, however after her parents saw her in the media as a FIFA/CAF referee she said her mother was the first one to congratulate her.

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Namibia has over the years produced some of Africa’s top female FIFA/CAF referees such as retired referee Queen Manga, the ever green and award winning referee Twanyanyukwa Antsino, Vistorine Shangula, Olivia Amuuku and Paulina Joel.

“My mother never like the idea of me playing football in the first place, because I remember when I was still in school she told me to choose between school and football.

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“I was surprised when she was the first to congratulate me when I got my FIFA/CAF badge. I played football with Antsino, Shangula and Joel as we are all from one region (Omusati).

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  My aim is to become a top referee in the future like Antsino and Shangula,” said Lungameni.