The South African Football Association (SAFA) has described the death of renowned assistant referee Moeketsi Molelekoa as a great loss to the football community.
Molelekoa died in a crash almost two weeks ago. He was involved in collision between his car and a bus in his hometown of Botshabelo.
The FIFA-accredited match official began his officiating journey at a patchy ground in 2008. He honed his skills at the annual Ba2cada Tournament in his hometown of Botshabelo.
Molelekoa’s High School teacher, Mmakgomo Ntheri, says they lost a dedicated servant of the people.
“We are very upset by his passing. We were still expecting a lot in a young man. An energetic man like him in a society of Botshabelo as a whole, it’s a great loss. But we still say he must rest in peace,” says Ntheri.
Mojalefa Raseipone, a friend who was among the first to arrive at the crash scene, says he is still traumatised.
“Max was my friend since 2009. We grew up together. He was refereeing, and I was coaching a team in the regional leagues. To the SAFA, PSL I was still young. The accident has traumatized me, and I don’t think it will be clear from now on. It will take (time). Maybe if I can get some help I’ll be much better, because truly, it has affected me very badly,” says Raseipone.
The award-winning assistant referee blew the whistle and waved his flag at various football ranks. He was promoted to the SAB and ABC Motsepe leagues and later to the Premier Soccer League in 2014. His first international match was the African Cup of Nations qualifier between Zambia and Algeria in March 2021.
“I started knowing it in 2010 at the workshop where it was held in Maselspoort for the beginners. We were writing Level 1. Moeketsi Molelekoa was a hardworker. He was willing to do good in his work,” says Maneo Tau, an assistant referee who worked with Molelekoa.
Referee Tshidiso Maruping says working with Molelekoa was easy as he was able to complement the referees in the best possible way.
“I will remember Moeketsi Molelekoa for his humility and for his dedication to his work. He was very dedicated and looking forward to a greater future. He was one assistant you’d never go wrong with him. He’d never leave you alone in the match. He’d always say thanks and and assist you. That’s how I will remember him.”
Among others, Molelekoa has officiated in the 2022 Cosafa Cup in Durban. He was invited to undergo a test to officiate in the upcoming CAF Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt.
SAFA Match Commissioner, Stephen Moshotle says, “For your information, Max was actually invited to Egypt for pre-selection for Under 20 Africa Cup of Nations because of his hardwork. He was highly recognised and we even got a letter from FIFA expressing their condolences for the passing of Mac. That’s how Max was so highly recognised. His performance all over it was very much credible. Everytime, reports that come from International performance, they were saying good things about him. He has never disappointed as an assistant referee.”
SAFA Manager for Football and Events, Mzwandile Maforvane, says they lost a promising assistant referee in Molelekoa.
“Looking at the way that Max is highly rated, it showed that, not only in front of our eyes, wherever he was, he was passionate about being one of the assistant referees for the country. So, therefore, as a South African football association, we say to the Molelekoa family, it’s not only you that you’ve lost. The South African football has lost a referee a young assistant referee who was also a shining light to football.”
Molelekoa has also been involved in the CAF Champions League and Confederations Cup matches. He will be laid to rest on Sunday in Botshabelo.