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Meet Netball South Africa umpire, Gabriel Simion from Mdantsane in East London, currently residing in eGompo. Gabriel started umpiring when he was 25 years old in Mahikeng and currently holds a Netball South Africa A grading.

How did your netball journey begin?
I started umpiring in 2012 from playing in Mahikeng (North West) after being encouraged by one of the Exco members named Thana Basiretsi, that’s when l did my level one.

Which tournaments have you umpired at so far and which one’s are your favourite and memorable moments?
I’ve umpired at various South African Championships, Varsity Netball Cups (2019 & 2021) and Telkom Netball League tournaments (2019-2022). The TNL and Varsity Netball Cup is my most memorable tournaments where I’ve umpired games live on TV. The other memorable tournament l did was the Male National Netball Championships in Upington where l got my NSA A grade, l was not expecting it and then, BOOM it came. l was overwhelmed.

The most difficult part about being an umpire?
I don’t think l have come across difficulties because as for me, l stand my ground. Any umpire shouldn’t fear if you are umpiring according to the rules. You should have a thick skin.

Your favourite part about being an umpire?
Me being in control of the game and being consistent of what l know according to the rules of netball.

What are your thoughts about the TNL as a tournament?
It’s a great platform for talent to be identified for progression – be it players, umpires and coaching staff. It’s a great tournament to be part of especially as an umpire, it challenges you to do your best, always, because you are being watched by everyone.

What advice can you share as an umpire?
Keep your dream alive! Always dream big never give up on something you love it’s not easy to be an umpire, it’s full of challenges, but you have to focus and know what you want. Always leave room for disappointment, don’t be hard on yourself, take one step at a time and stay focused.