blown away

RECOGNITION: Enoch Molefe. © Unknown.
RECOGNITION: Enoch Molefe. © Unknown.

Meshack Motloung

Meshack Motloung

Three South African soccer referees will make their Olympic Games debut in Beijing, China in August.

They are Jerome Damons, Diedre Mitchell and Enoch Molefe, who will leave for Asia in July.

Safa referees' development officer Carlos Henriques said the three, who were invited by Fifa, will officiate in the Under-23 soccer matches there.

He said Mitchell and Damons were referees and Molefe an assistant. They will first have to pass fitness tests before being assigned to matches.

"I'm excited and over the moon. This is good news for us and shows that our referees are up to standard," Henriques said.

"I'm very happy about the invitation and I firmly believe that they will do well during the Olympic Games. They are capable officials and very committed to the game.

"This is good for Safa and for the country," he said.

A excited Mitchell said the invitation was a big deal for her.

"I'm looking forward to going there and I hope I will do well for my country," she said.

It will be the second time that she will be refereeing out of the country. The first time was in Bangkok in 2004.

Damons, who has officiated at a number of events in different countries, was also ecstatic.

"Because I'm going to represent Mzansi again, it's a big responsibility because we'll be carrying the flag of the referees and of the citizens of South Africa," he said.

Molefe, who has also officiated in various countries, said the appointment was good for him.

"It's encouraging and it is also some sort of recognition for me," he said.