Netball umpire invited for International Netball Test series

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Leemisa Thuseho

TOP netball umpire Chakatsa Lephole has been named as one of the officials for a three-match International Netball Test Series between South Africa and England.

The series will run from 29 November to 1 December 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. Lephole will work alongside Angela Armstrong-Lush from New Zealand, Michelle Phippard and Bronwen Adams, both from Australia.

Lephole recently told Sunday Express that he is invited by the International Netball Federation (INF) to be a reserve umpire at the tournament. He said he welcomed the invitation as he believes that the platform would present him with an opportunity to market himself to the international arena.

“If ever I get chance to officiate at the games, it would be great opportunity because South Africa and England are among the top ranked netball countries in the world,” Lephole said.

“This will open up more international opportunities for me.”

Last month Lephole officiated at the 2019 African Netball Cup in Cape Town from 18 to 23 October.

He said soon after receiving the invitation from the INF, continued the training schedules that he had used ahead of the Africa Netball Cup.

“On return from the Africa Netball Cup, I continued my umpiring training programmes. The Test Series games are high-standard; therefore, I have to be at my best,” he said.

Lephole was last year handed an International Umpire Award (IUA), the highest umpiring award by the INF.

Being one of the highest qualified umpires locally and continentally, he revealed that his target was to officiate at the next Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England in 2022.

“Now that I was not invited for the 2019 Liverpool Netball World Cup, my target has shifted to the Commonwealth Games although I don’t want to put myself under pressure.

“I take one tournament at a time and focus on enhancing my performance so that I can be appointed for such big tournaments when my time comes.”

The Test Series will be Lephole’s last tournament to officiate this year.

The 37-year-old umpire has previously featured in the Tri-Nations tournaments in Botswana in 2010. He has also officiated in the annual Hong Kong Four Nation tournaments from 2011 to 2019. Apart from that, he has also officiated at the World Youth Cup games Botswana in 2017.

The other tournaments that he has officiated in are the World Youth Cup in Scotland (2013), World University Championship (in South Africa and Uganda in 2012 and 2018 respectively and the World Cup qualifiers in South Africa, Botswana and Zambia in 2010, 2015 and 2018 respectively.

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