Makalima, van Niekerk and Buhai Battle it Out for Sasol Global Woman in Sport Award

FIFA-accredited referee Akhona Makalima, Commonwealth Games double gold medallist, Lara van Niekerk and AIG Women’s Open champion, Ashleigh Buhai will battle it out for top honours in the Sasol Global Woman in Sport Award on the 2022 Momentum gsport Awards stage.

The Sasol Global Woman in Sport category was introduced in 2020 to honour a woman who is impacting sport globally, and going the extra mile to put womens sport on the map internationally.

The trio of women have had a phenomenal year in their individual sporting codes around the world during the year under review – June 2021 to June 2022.

Makalima, who is the first certified female football referee in South Africa, officiates for FIFA, the Premier Soccer League, the SASOL Women’s League, and SAFA. The 34-year old recently came back from officiating at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Rabat, Morocco, which was her maiden continental tournament.

“Wow! I am really out of words; this is really big. I am so humbled by this recognition,” revealed Makalima.

“My heart is filled with so much gratitude and joy. Thank you so much, I am so excited. This is big! I also have so much for gsport4girls and we really appreciate you for celebrating us, telling our stories and also advocating for women in sport. You are very close to our hearts.”

Teenage sensation, van Niekerk, is fresh from her double gold exploits at the Commonwealth Games and recently set a South African and African record in the 50m breaststroke at the SA Short Course Championships in Pietermaritzburg.

The 19-year-old is also a finalist in the Momentum Athlete of the Year category.

As a double finalist, van Niekerk says: “Being a finalist for the Sasol Global Award is very special. I hope that my achievements have a positive impact on girls, and encourages them to keep following their dreams.”

Buhain, is another formidable woman in line for this award. At the AIG Women’s Open event recently held at the Muirfield golf course, Buhai made history as she lifted her first major title.

This is what South Africa’s No.1 ranked golfer had to say about her recognition: “It’s an honour to be a finalist in this category and I hope along with all the other talented female athletes that we can continue to be role models and inspire young girls/women to take up sport.

“As the great Nelson Mandela said “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.”

Having turned professional in 2007, Buhai’s triumph at Muirfield marked an unprecedented new peak in her long journey. She became the first South African woman to win a major since 1988 after securing the British Open.

In 2021, wheelchair tennis star, Kgothatso Montjane was the star of the night as she became the most celebrated athlete on the awards stage, winning the Sasol Global Woman in Sport Award.

You can catch the latest women’s sport news on and cast your vote for your leading #gsport17 candidate at

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