Academic gets a kick out of

When NWU academic Dr John Asong could not pursue a career as a football player, he didn’t turn his back on the beautiful game; instead, he put on his boots and ran onto the pitch as a referee and match official.

John, a lecturer in life sciences at the Faculty of Education at the Mahikeng Campus, says when he is not carrying out his academic responsibilities, he is living his passion, football.


After 20 years, refereeing is not just a hobby for John. “This is something about which I am extremely passionate. I enjoy refereeing; it comes naturally to me. It's a lifetime commitment.”


Kicking off


Speaking about his early football days, John says, “I used to play goalkeeper for my secondary school and later coached the team back home in Cameroon.


“When I realised that I could not continue with my football career after secondary school, I decided that I should do my best to stay involved in this beautiful sport. I took an introductory course in refereeing, and then started to realise that I do have passion for it, and the rest is history.”


He started as a referee in Cameroon back in 2001 for the third division (district level) and was promoted to the second division (provincial level) a year later.


Finding new playing fields


When he moved to South Africa in October 2002, he affiliated with the South African Football Association (SAFA) in Pretoria.


Since then he has had the opportunity to officiate at the SAB regional league, Vodacom provincial league, Under 17 International Copa Coca-Cola tournament in Pretoria, and the England vs South Korea friendly in preparation for the FIFA 2010 World Cup.


When he moved to Mahikeng in 2011, he immediately affiliated with SAFA Ngaka Modiri Molema region as a match official.


“I am currently still officiating games in the region and most importantly, I am tasked as a match commissioner at most ABC Motsepe league games and the women’s league in the region,” says John, who now has a SAFA Level 4 refereeing certificate.


John’s passion for football and refereeing is infectious and captures the spirit of all that is great about the beautiful game.

Football refereeing is
Dr John Asong’s passion.