The appointment of Baaitse Manca as referee for the Nedbank Cup final on Saturday, 26 May 2012, is a first for women in the history of South African football.

South African Football Association (SAFA) President, Kirsten Nematandani congratulated Manca for the magnificent manner in which she executed her duties and responsibilities on Saturday, in the match between cross-town rivals Supersport United and Mamelodi Sundowns, adding that the official had done South Africa proud.

“This is great news which should even hog the international limelight. Not only was she in the thick of action, but was meticulous and made great calls especially the offside calls. She has a great future in this game which in the past has been a preserved of male species,” said the SAFA President.

SAFA’s Head of Referees, Adeel Carelse said the Association took the bold step in her appointment in view of the success of Project Equity (The Development of Female Referees). This project is in its second year and has borne results beyond what was initially envisaged.

“Manca earned her appointment purely on merit. She has also been appointed as the Fourth Official in the upcoming Banyana Banyana match against Nigeria. This is good both for her and the country,” said Carelse.

Already a member of the FIFA Panel of Referees, Manca is destined for even greater honours. She has been a member of the National Panel of Referees since 2007 and gained valuable experience since being exposed to the rigours of officiating in the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

Project Equity is one of five projects currently being run by the referees department in order to increase the skill level of referees.

At present there are 5 females on the National Panel of Referees. For the operational season 2012/2013 a further 3 ladies have been earmarked for possible promotion depending on their assessment at the Higher National Certification Course due to commence on 15th July 2012.

Two of Manca’s fellow referees, Nomvula Masilela and Assistance Sokhela have been invited to join the CAF Elite Referees Panel and will be going to Cameroon to complete the pre-requisite course on the 18-23 June 2012.