When prominent sportspersons who have put the country on the map are mentioned, the likes of Isaac Makwala, Amantle Montsho, Nijel Amos, Ross Branch and Diphetogo Selolwane quickly spring to mind.
Officials hardly get the recognition they deserve, and one of them is football referee, Joshua Bondo. The Johannesburg-born referee is now considered amongst the best on the continent, featuring in every high profile tournament. From the COSAFA Cup, to CAF competitions and the World Cup qualifiers, the man nicknamed ‘Sprinter’ has done it all. All this achieved from his humble beginnings in Selebi-Phikwe where he started by handling amateur games.
Bondo has rode some stormy moments in his career, including allegations of head butting an Angolan player during a game, being expelled from the COSAFA Cup, and two controversial moments involving powerhouses; Nigeria against Zambia and Senegal versus Madagascar. Amid the swelling storm, Bondo has remained ice cool, and instead, has seen his profile soar on the continent.
While he is in line to make his second Africa Cup of Nations appearance in Egypt in June, Bondo has been named as the referee to take charge of the CAF Champions League semi-final match between Morocco’s Wydad Athletic and Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa.
To be given a match at a crucial stage of CAF’s flagship club competition, shows Bondo’s stature.
The Botswana Football Association (BFA) has said it is pleased with Bondo’s progress and emphasised the need for more referees to be trained. Bondo became the first local referee to receive the Video Assistant Referee training in Johannesburg last month.
As a result of Bondo’s exploits, now the biggest stage in the world of football, the World Cup awaits. He would be encouraged by the call-up fellow neighbour, Janny Sikazwe received at the last World Cup in Russia.