17 November 2018


Soft at heart, strong on the field

by: Obakeng Maje   date: 26 January 2018

It was hardly dreamt of in the past to find a woman running across
a soccer pitch, officiating a match of male players. Today,
however, female match commissioners are holding their own
alongside their male counterparts.
Award-winning Premier Soccer League (PSL) match
commissioner, Marriam Montsho, says football is her life and she
cannot exchange it for anything. Montsho was born in Motlhabeng
village in Mahikeng.
“My job is to preside over the meeting of referees and officials of
both teams prior to the start of a game. I also combine a report that
will include virtually everything that occurred before, during and
after the match. The role of match a commissioner cannot be
compromised considering its importance to the success of a
game,” she told Semphete in an interview.  
“Security is one of the most important aspects of the game of
football as violence can erupt in the course of play. The match
commissioner has a duty to insist that the match be discontinued,
if there is no adequate security for the match officials or any
encroachment,” she said.
Montsho said some issues usually discussed in her course of duty
include security, medical, colours of the jersey to be used by both
teams and general reproach by the match officials on the need to
observe the spirit of fair play before, during and after the game.
She added that things like objects that can cause disruption or
injury do not enter the field of play. That includes unauthorised
“As a match commissioner, one must have the ability to take
prompt and accurate decision at all times. My task is to also
develop young referees across the province as a developmental
officer,” Montsho said.
She added that her job needs one to have a “sound knowledge of
the laws and the rules of the game”.

“One should also ensure that all aspects such as security and
safety are there and they must also carry out an inspection of the
field of play prior to the start of the game,” she said.
This mother of one said she started to follow football while she was
still at school. She said many people were surprised when they
saw her for the first time operating as a referee.
“I always wanted to be a PSL referee. My love for the beautiful
game started back during my tender age. In 1999, that is where I
took my craft very seriously and went on to win medals. In 2011 I
became the Best Assistant Referee for the Absa Women’s League
tournament in Kimberley.  
“I always ensure that I study thoroughly the laws and rules of the
game to be on top. Football is an emotional game, so one wrong
decision can cause pitch encroachment and that will be a disaster.
I was so grateful when I was appointed as a referee assessor in
PSL,” Montsho said.
Montsho added that she was grateful because she never came
across any hostile situation in her career as a referee or match
commissioner and thanked God for putting out greater plans for
“I have a vast experience and occupied various positions before I
was appointed a match commissioner. I would like to encourage
women out there to follow their dreams. Football used to be a
male-dominated sport, but things have drastically changed for the
better. Women can do anything that our male counterparts do.
“One needs discipline, dedication and determination to achieve
your mark. Let’s continue to strive for the better and ensure that
every day is fruitful,” said Montsho.
Caption 1: Miriam Montsho in action during the SAB League
game between Motlhabeng FC and Mmabatho Rabbits in
Montshiwa stadium in Mahikeng