Netball player and Umpire Zelma Bittler recently obtained an umpiring Gold accreditation, a step closer for Bittler to officiate in Africa and the rest of the World.

Hailing from Walvis Bay, Bittler had to overcome hardships to attain her dreams today an accountant by profession Bittler speaks to SRSM, on her journey of becoming one of the most qualified umpires in Netball Namibia.

SRSM, thank you for chatting to us. Tell us about your background and upbringing?

I was born and raised in Walvis Bay, I lost my father when I was 12 and I grew up with my older sister we practically raised ourselves because my mom is based in the north and she was unemployed at the time. Growing up in Secondary School I had work after school and during holidays just to feed my sister and I, as well as pay school fees.

 What sports did you play growing up, and how did you develop the love for Netball?

I played netball from grade 1 at Immanuel Ruiters primary school till date, Netball was just my favourite sports since I was young so the love was already there before I even knew it.

What keeps you motivated to keep playing?

The love of the game is my motivation, in addition the young girls we keeping out of the streets is my biggest motivation to stay in the game.

What inspired you to become an umpire?

Well umpiring really just started for me because every team had to provide an umpire as a requirement of the Khomas league rules, so at the time when we started the team most players where beginners so I was the only one who knew the rules at the point.

Which strengths do you believe you have that make you a great umpire?

I believe my strength as an umpire is because I myself am a player so I would never want to be officiated unfairly. So my strength is honesty and fair umpiring.

What does getting a gold accreditation mean for you?

Its mean that I’m not far from receiving accreditation for Africa and after worldwide so I can be umpiring at the netball world cup.

What opportunities are there for Netball umpires?

The opportunities are not so many but I believe it will become more as the years go and the game gets more exposure and one gains experience, if not here in Namibia one can try around the world.

Why are you so passionate about playing Netball and umpiring?

The main reason I am passionate about netball and umpiring is because one sees how the people that our team has groomed has grown to national players, some got jobs and others turn passion into something profitable.

What keeps you going?

My husband keeps me going, he keeps reminding me that I am good, I am talented and I am an inspiration to most of the girls.

Is there an umpire or athlete that you look up to as a role model and why?

My role model is Annie Kloppers, she is an international umpire from South Africa, she is 55 years old and still umpiring international games.

Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?

I see myself as an international umpire and running an umpiring academy to give back to the nation.

What advice do you have for the girl child?

 I advise the girl child to never give up on any of their dreams no matter how hard it seems. I believe with God, being humble, hardworking and with discipline you can get anywhere in life.

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