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Luzanne Mulder was born in the Free State, but Middelburg Mpumalanga has been her home since the age of eight. After high school, she attended the University of Johannesburg where she graduated with a BCom degree in Marketing, as well as a BCom Honours degree. Today, besides being a wife and mother, netball plays an integral part of her life. She started umpiring in 2005 and currently holds a Netball SA A grading, in addition to an Africa A grading which she obtained in 2021.

How did your netball journey begin?
From an early age, I developed a strong passion for netball. My mother was a netball player and enthusiast; therefore, I inherited her love for the sport. During my school years I represented Mpumalanga u/13 through to u/19 levels. Furthermore, I was named as part of the “Top 40 Players” in South Africa at the National Schools Tournament in my matric year. As a student I continued playing netball, as well as coaching school teams which allowed me the opportunity to volunteer as an umpire. My love for the sport as both coach and player only fuelled my passion to further my umpire career.

Which tournaments have you umpired at so far and which one’s are your favourite and memorable moments?
A memorable moment was when I received my first NSA grading (C). This moment was particularly special, because it happened as I held the grading card in my hand. The feeling of representing Netball South Africa as an umpire brings me great joy and it makes me proud.
Tournaments include:
SPAR National Championships: 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2021
SA Men’s National Championships: 2017, 2019, 2021
Telkom Netball League: 2020-2022
The International Males Netball Tournament: 2021
The Africa Netball Cup that was held in Windhoek Namibia in 2021

The most difficult part about being an umpire?
I think the biggest challenge for me is on a personal level, because I have always been a perfectionist and I strive to give my absolute best. I tend to be an overthinker which ultimately leads to constant self-reflection on how I can improve.

Your favourite part about being an umpire?
Not to sound cliché but umpiring! From the minute I start my warmup routine I instantly change my thought process and I go into “match mode”. It is here where I am in my element and the happiest. I also love being a part of the netball family and presenting netball courses.

What are your thoughts about the TNL as a tournament?
I think it is an exceptional league where players can showcase their talents. It is an absolute honour to umpire at the Telkom Netball League.

What advice can you share as an umpire?
Firstly, know your rule book very well. Also, gain experience through umpiring as many matches as you possibly can. Always remember that there is no such thing as failure – only learning!  One of my favourite quotes: “Pressure is a privilege, an opportunity for greatness” (McCaw)