Akhona Makalima has set her sights on the next World Cup tournaments

Akhona Makalima has set her sights on the next World Cup tournaments

Trailblazing FIFA-accredited referee, Akhona Makalima, has set her sights on the next big assignment – the 2026 FIFA World Cup in the USA and the 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the host nation for the latter event is yet to be announced.

The Eastern-Cape born match official has distinguished herself among the trustiest in the game. She was one of the referees at the 2023 FIFA World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand.

Makalima also worked on VAR during the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in January this year.

"There are a lot of preparations that I'm doing so obviously I would want to prepare for the next World Cup 2026 and 2027. I'm preparing and I look forward to going to the next AFCON next year which is in Morocco and more women competitions that are coming up, the AFCON and obviously sharpen my skills and my talent in terms of VAR that I'm currently doing,” Makalima said.

“It's all about sharpening myself and improving every day, there's nothing that I need more than improving every day. Improving my game, improving my fitness, improving my football understanding, my foul analysis and everything. This is what is gonna set me from the rest."

Makalima is proud of the grounding she got as a referee, with the help of COSAFA, which has seen many match officials pass through their doors and onto the international stage.

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She has been part of the FIFA panel for 10 years and has been to several tournaments to showcase her talent.

"We always say COSAFA must be a confed on its own. The standard of the workshops, the standard of the training that goes inside, the technical classes and the workshops that we have is really displaying what we are going to do when we go to CAF and FIFA,” Makalima added.

“So, they prepare us here at this level so that when we go there we are at our best. They are doing an amazing job, Mr Felix [Tangawarima] and his office and also the standard of match officials. You see that people do not know how COSAFA has produced big numbers, even at the CAF level or at a FIFA level, COSAFA is producing big numbers, even for women."