With nearly a decade of being a referee behind him Joseph Majambere, is starting to make his mark into the ranks of Men’s Premier League whistle blowers.
Since first taking on the role at the start of the decade after a bad leg injury brought his time as a player to an end, Joseph has been diligently improving as he progressed through the grades and having reached North Coast Football’s top grade deserves some appreciation as Referee Recognition Week fast approaches.
The 36 year-old moved to the Coffs Coast in 2005 from Tanzania after fleeing war torn Burundi with family when he was only 10 after his father was killed.
Now into his eighth year of being a referee, Joseph admits being in the middle is a great escape from his weekday role of finding employment opportunities for those living with a disability.
“First it (refereeing) is an exercise routine for me. Sitting in the office Monday to Friday, you want to get out and do something,” Joseph said.
“It is respite for me. Some place I can be and be free.
“It’s very enjoyable when you have a game you feel you are controlling. You have everything under control, players are playing in good spirit of the game. I just enjoy that, I love it.”
After playing stints with both Coffs United and the Coffs Coast Tigers, Joseph said becoming a referee was the natural thing to do.
“When the injury came that was my connection to the game,” he said.
Seeing as he’s controlling play from the middle or patrolling a line four days a week, there’s no doubt Joseph is keeping a strong connection.
Doing as many games as his fitness allows, Joseph admitted there are times when he feels like work offers him some respite from refereeing.
“Sometimes you don’t remember there was a weekend,” he joked.
Joseph said his style of refereeing is a fairly laid back.
“I’m very lenient. I do try to see the best thing in every person,” he said.
“Perhaps if there was something that I might need to work on I would say it is learning to step on the issues early in a game.
“I tend to communicate first, address the person. But the level I ref often, they are people who are not fit so often they do it so they can slow down the other player.”
Joseph admitted he hit a big challenge early on his time as a ref but the support he received at the time kept him in the refereeing fraternity.
“There were lots of challenges. I remember having to give a red card for racial abuse. Surprisingly, you would think it was a man but at that point it was a woman,” he recalled.
“But what I found was that once I explained to North Coast Football what had happened that actually followed through, discussed it with the club and the player.
“When you’re dealing with an entity that understands and tries to support it’s not so hard because the rest come on board.”
Joseph said that was a very isolated incident and he’s allowed to bring his past experiences into his decision making on the pitch.
“Originally I studied law so justice is one of the things that motivates me and doing the right thing by everyone I think is what makes me a good referee,” he said.
“I don’t hold a grudge against another person, I don’t take things personally but if you make it personal then I have to deal with it straight away.
“That’s how I do things. I think I ref the game as it comes.”
Referee Recognition Week starts on Monday, July 23 and finishes on Sunday, July 29.
To view all the Referee Profiles from throughout the week, click here.