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Siwela to use World Cup earnings to start farming

SA referee next targets 2026 event in the US

Neville Khoza Journalist
Zakhele Siwela.
Zakhele Siwela.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Renowned SA assistant referee Zakhele Siwela wants to use the money he made at the Fifa World Cup in Qatar last year to fund a new farming business.

Siwela, alongside retired referee Victor Gomes, represented SA in Qatar and were in charge of the matches between France and Australia as well as Spain versus Japan.

It is understood that Siwela, who also ran the line at the Russia showpiece in 2018, received $25,000 (R450,000) in basic pay and $2,500 (R45,000) for a group stage match.

“I made a little bit of money and for now, to be quite honest, I’m looking at getting myself a plot and getting myself into a little bit of farming, that’s my target,” Siwela told Sowetan.

“God willing, if I can get what I need to start my farming, then we will take it from there.”

Looking back at the tournament, the 40-year-old Siwela said it was a good experience, especially to officiate in two high-profile matches.

“For me, the fact that we managed to get the big guns, we never just refereed any other team. We did France in the first game, who were the previous World Cup champions,” he said.

“The next match we did was Spain and Japan. Japan is not a small team in Asia and Spain is on top of its game.

“For me, the biggest thing is we were able to do the top 10 teams in the world.”

Siwela said he planned to officiate at the next World Cup in the US, Canada and Mexico in 2026.

“My age still allows me to go to another World Cup, my goal is to do as much as I can, maybe I can decide after that about my career.

“The World Cup was a good experience. I think going from 2018 to 2022 at least I knew what was expected of me, and I was able to help the team because, in my team, which was Gomes and the guy from Lesotho [Souru Phatsoane], none of them had previous World Cup experience,” he said.

“I was the only one with World Cup experience and I was able to assist in many things and mentally prepare for the tournament.

“Having World Cup experience prepared me because I knew that none of the teams would come there relaxed and thinking it will be easy.”

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