Nyingwa helped hone rising official Zinakile

Pumeza Zinakile officiated in about 40 fights throughout South Africa last year. / PETER MOGAKI
Pumeza Zinakile officiated in about 40 fights throughout South Africa last year. / PETER MOGAKI

Boxing referee Pumeza Zinakile has expressed her gratitude to Boxing SA's Gauteng provincial manager Archie Nyingwa for believing in her ability as a ring official.

Nyingwa assigned Zinakile to officiate in South African, world and international boxing matches throughout last year.

She said Nyingwa's belief in her enabled her to improve as a referee and judge.

"Today I am contesting the [BSA 2017] female ring official award because I assume that people who nominated me saw that I handled myself the way rules and regulations require us to do," she said.

"But that would not have been possible had Mr Nyingwa not assigned me. He was always there to guide me. There is no lovey-dovey situation. If he feels you did bad, he would reprimand you and encourage you to go back to the drawing board. But if you did well, he would also be the first one to congratulate you. I honestly believe that I did not disappoint him."

The Gauteng-based official from Mdantsane in Eastern Cape also extended her heartfelt gratitude to the boxing public for nominating her.

"It means a lot for me. It says my work in boxing is visible and appreciated," said Zinakile. "I am not perfect, but I strive to be a perfectionist."

Zinakile is contesting the award with Namhla Tyuluba from East London and Sylvia Mokaila from North West.

"Namhla is still very wet behind her ears in officiating. Sylvia Mokaila is one of the best female ring officials in the country, but she did not do much during the period in review [October 1 2016 until October 31 2017]," Zinakile continued.

"I officiated in almost 40 fights. I felt within me that I have improved a hell of a lot compared to last year. I officiated in Gauteng, Free State, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. I gave my all. Namhla and Sylvia know that I deserve the award."

The inclusion of Thandi Ngodwana as the third nominee for the most promising ring official of the year award has increased the number of females to 12. This goes to show that females are gradually making an impact in the historically male-dominated fistic sport.

Ngodwana is nominated alongside Mandisi Mkile and Sipho Ndongeni.

The crowning ceremony will take place at the Boardwalk Casino in Port Elizabeth on February 2.