Very few working professionals can say they are always eager to go to work, that they are truly loving what they do for a living. It is rare to find such an individual more especially a young man in his 20’s that is having two professional titles; one as a Mathematics high school teacher as well being one of country’s youngest Fifa accredited referees. Today we as The Village Mag, have an exclusive interview with Tshidiso Maruping, our very own Shadrack “Shaq” Ngako caught up with the man for a quick Q&A interview, sit back and enjoy. A TEAM TVM EXCLUSIVE.

Shadrack “Shaq” Ngako:              Tshidiso thank you for your time and welcome to The Village Mag.

Tshidiso Maruping:               Thanks man, the pleasure is all mine.

Shaq:                                        Tell us about yourself and upbringing.

Tshidiso:                                   I was born in Welkom, in the Free State Province, then at the age of 7, I moved to my granny’s house at a place called Tweespruit, where I lived with her and two (2) other cousins. I attended school at Tweespruit Combined School which is where I completed my matric.

Shaq:                   To become a certified FIFA referee, does one need to obtain certain qualifications? If so what are those qualifications?

Tshidiso:              To become a referee there are no specific requirements however, we attend a lot of                         workshops to learn about different dynamics of the game. Workshops are orientated on different aspects such as theory and fitness training. We get to write tests which enables one to be promoted. Also to become a referee you need to have a strong character and psychological strength as the game and the players demand the best out of you from the first whistle down to the last.

However, to be precise on the path one has to follow to get the FIFA certification, after the ABC Motsepe league, you then get promoted to the national panel of referees which means you can then officiate at PSL and the Glad Africa Championship level. Performance is reviewed after each game and of course on classes you take, should you pass then you get recommended to FIFA by the referees under the auspices of the country’s soccer mother body SAFA. Further assessments will be conducted then you get your badge. Discipline is key throughout and beyond the processes.

Shaq:                   Alright thanks for that, now tell us when did you start officiating matches?

Tshidiso:              I started officiating at a very young age in the SAFA Local Football Association (LFA) leagues, then I was fortunate enough to get a promotion to the SAB and ABC Motsepe leagues (formerly called Vodacom league).

Shaq:                   Besides being a match official, what else do you do?

Tshidiso:              I am a teacher by profession, I teach at Reutlwanetse Secondary School in Excelsior, which is approximately 30 km away from my home town of Tweespruit.

Shaq:                   Who or what inspired you to become a match official?

Tshidiso:            Daniel Bennett, however I was mentored, groomed and guided by Enock Molefe whom was an assistant referee and I am the central referee.

Shaq:                   What are some of the things you are not supposed to do as a match official, both on and off the field?

Tshidiso:              As a match official, you represent the South African Football Association (SAFA) wherever you go, whether on and off the field. People see SAFA whenever they see you, in short you are not supposed to do things that will put the association into disrepute.

Shaq:                   We believe in giving back to the communities, are you are charitable person?

Tshidiso               Yes, big time my brother as we speak I have started a movement that aims to groom young boys into being tomorrow’s better man. We give them advises, motivation and talks about daily struggles and show them possible ways to navigate through such. Furthermore we have a Soccer Easter Tournament held every year in my hometown. 

Shaq:                   What prepares you ahead of a big match in order to deal with the blood rush of players and spectators?

Tshidiso:              Every match has its own challenges; it all boils down to the level of preparedness. Firstly I do not allow myself to engage in activities that will make me sad, secondly I always watch as many games as possible – this way I learn about the teams which I am going to officiate later that week – their different styles of play, this makes my job on the day a bit easier.

Thirdly during training, I focus on my running and positioning to try and adapt to the teams’ style of play. Fourthly I revise as many rules/laws of the game and their applications to different situations in the field. And lastly I try to do everything that keeps me in jovial/happy mood e.g. spend time with my friends and loved ones going through old family photo albums – reminiscing on the past.

Shaq:                   What are the sort of challenges do you face while commentating?

Tshidiso:              The most challenging aspect about this profession, I would say is having to go back to those communities (where I stay) after the match and their favorite team having lost and meeting those fans that feel like I am to blame for the loss or poor performance from their favorite team. My man it is tough, which is why said one needs a strong mental psychology.

Shaq:                   What is your view on the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), should it be introduced in our leagues?

Tshidiso:              Yes, VAR is a tool that is used order to assist match officials in coming with the correct decisions during the match and that is what we all need. For the love of the game.

Shaq:                   Was this profession (teaching) your first choice or did you perhaps, want to become something else?

Tshidiso:              I have always wanted to be a teacher, however still studying, I then decided to do something on the side since I could not play soccer anymore. But because of my love for the game, I wanted to stay within soccer. That was when the journey (refereeing) began.

Shaq:                   Mr. Maruping thank you and good luck in your future endeavors and may you also produce good results in the classroom as well. Any last words?

Tshidiso:              Thank you for the opportunity to allow me to tell my story, I never thought my work / story could reach that far – you are actually the first online publication to interview me, so yeah.

In conclusion I would like to thank everyone who played a role (however big or small) in my life to get me this far; my family, friends, colleagues and other referees as well as match commissioners but above all I would like to thank the Almighty God for giving me the talent and getting me this far. Thanks to you TVM cheers and all the best, Godspeed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *