Jeppe High School for Boys

Mr Letshabo refereed at the water polo world champs

Mr Letshabo refereed at the water polo world champs

Our 1st team water polo coach, Mr Lucky Letshabo, has just come back from Doha, Qatar, were he refereed at the senior mens water polo tournament forming part of the World Aquatic Championhsips.

He was one of 24 referees who officiated there, and the only one from Africa. In the end he handled six matches – five womens water polo and one mens – and he was the VAR official for four games.

“It was an amazing experience,” he said. “My mens game was a cross-pool playoff between Italy and Romania – Italy eventually lost in the final of the tournament – and it was definitely the highlight of my refereeing career so far.”

You ref every second day at the tournament and the time in between is taken up by intensive analysis and discussion of your performance. “They review your games and spend a lot of time on your good and bad points, all aimed at improving your performance,” Lucky said. “I did OK, I think, I was active all the way to the end of the event, while some referees were not given any further games after getting a bad review.”

Lucky has been refereeing water polo for 14 years now. He started at the age of 19 back in 2009 and he estimates that in the last few years he has been handling in excess of 150 games a year.

“I have been fortunate at times as I made my way up through the ranks,” he said. “But I have also worked very hard. In that time I have refereed the finals at most of the national tournaments, including the Currie Cup – our big interprovincial tournament. At the same time, I have never seen any game as beneath me and have refereed low age group games at schools all along too.”

He’s not sure what his international future will be – there are a number of internationally rated referees in the country, and they tend to give everyone an opportunity at the top level.

In the immediate future, he will be at the King Edward Tournament this weekend, as the Jeppe coach, and also as a referee. The KES tournament is regarded as the top boys polo tournament in the country its final is one of those that Lucky has never featured in as a referee.

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