Hard work takes local referee to PSL

Tsheko Stephen ‘Stanku’ Thai will soon be the first PSL referee that Merafong has had in years.

According to Tsheko Stephen ‘Stanku’ Thai, he always loved soccer while growing up in Khutsong. Where most other men tend to outgrow the sport as they get older, 38-year-old Thai only became, although not at playing.
Thai has been a soccer referee for several years and has been refereeing in the Castle regional leagie since 2000. Last year he decided to give it his all to reach his goal of being chosen to referee Premier Soccer League (PSL) games.
In an all-out effort, which included Thai lowering his weight from 120 kg to 84 kg in about six months, he managed to reach this goal.
‘I did this by training hard for one and a half hours two times a day at Strong Gym in Batswaneng,’ he told the Herald. This, together with five to ten kilometre runs on weekends, ensured that Thai recently passed the grueling fitness and speed tests that potential PSL referees have to undertake.
These tests include being able to run five sets of 50 metre sprints, each of which may not be run slower than 5.7 seconds.
Thai passed his final medical test on Monday and will soon receive his official kit.
By the time the newspaper went to print, it was not yet sure when he would referee is first PSL match.
‘I am really looking forward to it but it will take a lot of my time, especially as I am not a professional referee,’ Thai told the Herald.
His official occupation is that of an assistant block man at Carletonville Fresh Meat.

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