Pelonomi Kiti Aims to be the Best Sports Administrator

Potchefstroom-born and bred Pelonomi Kiti, who is a Sports Coordinator NPO Athletes in Need, has seen her hard work, positive attitude and dedication to the cause rewarded by being elected as the 2023 Vitality Netball World Cup National Technical Official. Photo: Supplied

Pelonomi Kiti, a sports coordinator with NPO Athletes in Need, has been chosen to represent South Africa as one of the technical officials at the 2023 Vitality Netball World Cup.

She hopes to build on the knowledge she already received from the Quad Series by imparting it to prospective sports authorities back home with the help of this fantastic chance.

Kiti, who is from Potchefstroom in the North West Province, joined MAVU Sports Development, a non-profit organisation, after completing her diploma in sports science at North West University.

Her journey led her to hone her talents as an administrator, although she had aspirations of making the national team as a player. Her goal is to be the best sports administrator there is.

Speaking with gsport’s Tlamelo Kganakga, Pelonomi Kiti chats more about her excitement for the Netball World Cup.


Pelonomi, thank you for chatting to us. Please tell us about yourself and where you are from?

Thank you so much gsport for this wonderful opportunity. My name is Pelonomi Kiti. I was born and raised in Potchefstroom, attended all my schooling and tertiary studies in Potchefstroom. I studied a National Diploma in Sport Science at North West University which I completed in December 2015. After completing my Diploma, I had the opportunity to be a part of MAVU Sport Development (a non-profit organisation aimed at utilising sport facilities and developing sports in different age groups), after a year I then had the opportunity to be in an internship program with then Department of Education and Sport Development, where I was an admin assistant at the district office, in that opportunity I learnt a lot about the government sector for a year. Ever since the internship ended, I have been getting small opportunities that assist me a lot in realising and reaching my full potential. I am currently a part of an award winning Athletes in Need (AIN) a non-profit organisation aimed at emancipating the dream of young upcoming and aspiring athletes, I am the head of sports/sport co-ordinator.


When and where did your love for sports begin?

Just like any other athlete my love for sports began at a very young and tender age, at school from primary to high I was known as Pelonomi the athlete. I did participate in athletics at the beginning of each year and there after participated in netball. I believe I was never really good enough to be part of a national team but that never stopped my strong passion for sports, I was always the passionate team player. I believe every athlete needs that extra person to believe in them and that athlete will go further, I never had that but I believe my passion and love for sport just allowed me to be consistent. During my tertiary years I played soccer and a lot of provincial rugby, like I said, I was a team player, still. 


As a sports coordinator, what are some of the lessons you have learned?

As a sport co-ordinator I have learnt that when you do your planning of what needs to be done take it like eating pizza, one slice at a time. Instead of wanting to do everything all at one go, do everything step by step. And then again when working with people you really have to have strong interpersonal-skills. I often say do not assume people understand what you are saying, make sure they understand what you mean.


You have been elected as a national technical official for Netball World Cup. how did that come about and how do you feel about the election?

I am forever grateful and humbled by this great opportunity, I am honestly delighted to be selected as one of the technical officials going into the world cup remember this is a big deal, first of its kind on African soil wow! It really is such a big deal with so much pressure, I believe my selection was from resilience and hard work I put in from Telkom Netball League (TNL) that is considered as the top league in South Africa. When I got selected to do technical on that level, I utilised that opportunity to learn as much as I could to improve my knowledge and skills.


How excited are you about SA hosting the Netball World Cup, first of its kind on African Soil?

I am super-duper excited and very delighted and humbled by the opportunity. I had my fair share of goosebumps when I had a dry run at the Quad series held earlier this year in Cape Town, I mean it’s one thing seeing all these players on television sitting at home but to see them with your own naked eye wow, it’s amazing. I think the worst thing is having to officiate a match with your favourite players and you have to be very partial and concentrate on what is happening in the game without being involved in the game. In all honesty, this is very exciting.


What are you looking forward to and what impact do you intend making?

I aim to officiate with impartiality and the rules that governs this competition, with that experience I intend of sharing with aspiring officials back home and in the surrounding areas of my district.


What has been some of the challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?

As an athlete growing up, I obviously had a dream of one day being in the national team of netball but because that was not possible, I took it upon myself to be a stepping stone for upcoming aspiring athletes. I wanted to be the best player but that was not possible so I decided to do something in the management or officiating department. My biggest challenge has been self-confidence and the fear of the unknown. I am still struggling with the confidence but I try my best to push myself out of my comfort zone and I just find myself diving into new opportunities not considering failure but letting that failure be a stepping stone for me to start over.


What has been some of your career highlights?

It has to be being a part of an all women conference (when I was still at MAVU Sports Development) with women who made it from nowhere into being somewhere, and they shared their stories on achieving these dreams of theirs. The first thing I took with me was that I should be unapologetic about being a woman in sport, and that I should never allow myself to be my own barrier. The last thing I took from that conference is that “Be the Best in whatever/wherever you are placed, make a difference, make an impact, leave a mark”. Being selected for national duties at the Quad series, and now the cherry on top being a technical official at a whole World Cup on African soil.


Who are some of the sportswomen you admire and why?

My sports woman of all time has to be Serena Williams yes, she is not a netball player but she has demanded respect as a woman athlete against all odds/ stereotypes.


Where do you want to see women in sports going forward, especially where women officials are concerned? 

I would like to see women officials and women in sports have equal opportunities like men, to express themselves regardless of whatever code they want, without been looked at funny or given the “will she make it big (financial, emotionally, psychologically and everything)?”.


What is it that people don’t know about you?

People do not know that I very feisty and that I have a low self-esteem so I avoid people being in my space so that I do not have to speak/explain how I feel and how something makes me feel. I am a lazy talker.


What do you do for fun?

I honestly do not have something that I do for fun, but I can tell you that me training and going to gym makes me happy. I do not know if it’s because I do not have to talk much but I am at my happiest when I’m outdoors.


What’s your greatest career ambition?

I would like to continue to develop my skills and experience by working with professional administrators/coordinators and get to understand and know more about the sports industry. I also want to develop my leadership and organisational skills. This will help me achieve my goal of being the best sport administrator.


What’s your advice for aspiring women in sports?

Do what you can, wherever you are, with whatever you have. By that I mean stay disciplined, highly motivated and dedicate yourself fully, always be willing to learn and improve your knowledge.


Photo 1 Caption: Athletes in Need Sports Coordinator, Pelonomi Kiti has been selected to be a 2023 Vitality Netball World Cup national technical official. Photo: Supplied


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