Meet Touch Rugby Referee Ndivhuwo Tshila

Ndivhuwo Tshila has been chosen as an official referee for the European Championships by the Federation of International Touch, which will be held at Parc Omnisport in Vichy, France from 8-12 August. Photo: Supplied

Ndivhuwo Tshila, better known as Ndipsy from Soweto, is a touch rugby referee for the Easterns Touch Association (ETA) and the South African Touch Association.

Tshila has been chosen as an official referee for the European Championships by the Federation of International Touch, which will be held at Parc Omnisports in Vichy, France from 8-12 August.

Tshila is a Level 3 referee, the highest level rank in South Africa, and is aiming to to reach Level 4 or 5, as she looks to transition from refereeing to full contact rugby, either fifteens or sevens.

To ensure that her trip to France is a reality, Tshila has called out for financial assistance as costs including her Visa, passport, flights, food and lodging is anticipated to reach R60 000.

She has won two IPTs referee of the tournament honours, two Super 6 Tournament Referee of the Tournament titles, and two Touch Here Referee of the Tournament crowns.

Her ambition is to become the country’s highest-ranked female referee.

Speaking to Tlamelo Kganakga, Ndivhuwo Tshila chats more about her journey.

Please tell us about yourself and where you are from.

My name is Ndivhuwo Tshila, more well known as Ndipsy. I am a young black girl from Soweto who is very passionate about sport.

When and where did your love for sport begin?

When I was younger, I grew up in a small township with not much to do so I would keep myself company by watching sport on our neighbour’s TV and joining as many sporting clubs in the neighbourhood as I possibly could. I started discovering that I was pretty good at some of them and this made me love doing it even more.

You ref at ETA and SATA. Please tell us more about these associations.

ETA is the Easterns Touch Association which is based in the South of Johannesburg. I started playing touch rugby for them back when I was still in high school in 2009. Even though I started as a player for ETA, I ended up joining their refereeing team in 2019. SATA is the South African Touch Association which is responsible for the running and overseeing of all Touch Rugby related matters in the country. I only started refereeing Touch Rugby for SATA back in 2019 till today.

Why refereeing?

When I first started refereeing, I wanted to have a better knowledge and understanding of the game. I thought, if I can learn how to officiate the game, then I can definitely play the game better. I just ended up falling in love with refereeing that I even forgot that I was just there for extra knowledge.

You have been selected for European Championships. How did that come about and how do you feel?

Every year the country hosts 2 official international tournaments knows as IPTs (Inter Provincial Tournament), one for juniors and one for seniors. It is at these games where the SATA committee will scout and select players and referees that they think are fit enough to represent the country in either a Youth Atlantic Cup, a European Championship Tournaments or World Cup tournament. I got selected as one of 4 referees who will be representing the country in France, in August this year. It was just a great honour for me to be selected and given this great opportunity. Not only for myself but also for everyone who will benefit from me having an upgraded refereeing level.

What do you think this experience will do for your career internationally?

I am currently ranked as a level 3 referee. This is the highest-level rank you can get in the country. In order for me to rank up to either a level 4 or 5, I have to ref at an international level. Being able to get an opportunity to even just be around the best touch rugby referees in the world is such an honour because there is going to be so much that I can learn and bring back to the country with me when I return. This will also help open and pave my way as I am trying to transition into refereeing full contact rugby (either fifteens or sevens).

What do you need in order to see this journey through?

Touch Rugby is a self-funded sport as it is not very popular in the country. In order for me to actually make my dream come true and be able to ref at these international tournaments I need to be able to provide funding for myself in order to be able to get there. Everything from the travel Visa, passport, flights, food, accommodation and etc. are all my financial responsibility. For example, for this European Championship, I will need an estimation of R60 000 in order to be able to actually go and survive for the week I will be there.

Any help will be highly appreciated. 

Banking details: Standard Bank

Account Holder: Ms Ndivhuwo Tshila

Account number: 10146178309

Account type: Savings(current)

Branch Code: 4706

Contact details: 0676976039

Email Address: [email protected]

What are some of the challenges you have faced in your career?

My biggest fear would have to be finances. Every time we play, we have to pay for the tour and many things that are required have to be paid for by us. 

Some other challenges I guess are just like every other referee’s challenge, nobody likes the ref and when a lot of people lose matches the first person, they shift the blame onto is the refs.

What has been some of your career highlights?

I have won 2 IPTs referee of the tournament titles.

I have won 2 Super 6 Tournament Referee of the tournament.

I have won 2 Touch Here Referee of the tournament titles as well.

Besides being one the most recognized Female Touch rugby referee in the country, my highlight is sharing the field with some of the people I love the most in the world and that makes it worth it.

What is your greatest career ambition?

I want to be the highest ranked female referee in the country.

I want to do my BokSmarts and start refereeing contact rugby as well. I don’t just want to ref sevens and fifteens but I want to excel at it as well. I want the name Ndipsy to be a household name in sport.

Photo 1 Caption: Ndivhuwo Tshila has been chosen as an official referee for the European Championships by the Federation of International Touch, which will be held at Parc Omnisport in Vichy, France from 8-12 August. Photo: Supplied 

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