When the names of women trendsetters in Botswana sports are called, the name of Dorothy Okatch is among the first.
A successful shooting guard in her heyday – she played for Ledumang Senior Secondary and Police Ladies – Okatch is now enjoying a successful career as a referee. In fact, she is the first FIBA accredited referee in Botswana.
This week, it was announced by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) that she is among five African women referees to have passed the FIBA 3×3 referee courses with five candidates passing the final tests, another milestone in a glittering career.
“It is a passion. It provides an opportunity for me to allow fair play on the basketball court. It also allows for me to continue to open the road for many more female referees from Botswana to take up the calling and pursue it,” Okatch said.
For the Okatch, this is a labour of love, a calling. Her latest badges were acquired after she went to train for the FIBA Course in Kampala, Uganda last year.
In that course, Okatch and Lebogang Chengeta were selected as Botswana candidates to go through the training during the 3×3 Africa Champions Cup. A total of eight referees from various African countries took part in the training and five passed the course after a number of physical, technical, and skills tests.
Okatch, along with other women referees Mary Auma Oriaro of Kenya, Tojonirina Andriamanantsoa and Yann Vezo Davidson of Madagascar and Monica Nassuuna of of Uganda passed the course.
For all her achievements, Okatch is grateful for the help she has had along the way, more especially from the Botswana Basketball Association (BBA).
“BBA has been amazing in supporting me and other referees in this regard. They have time and time again entrusted me with the role of representing the country. They have allowed me to conduct trainings in the country for other referees and supported me during that time. Through their support I have trained 38 officials last year and am looking to double that number this year”
Okatch explained that the FIBA licensing system has changed and the number of officials that a country can have is based on 2 criteria being; the ranking of the country in the world and the competitions that the referee has officiated at.
She observed that Afrobasket finals last year has opened up more slots for her and BBA.
She added that “the appointment is an opportunity to keep raising up our flag for more referees to also be accredited by FIBA. I still have hopes of being called to ref World Games at some point in time and would love to be able to achieve that before my time as a licensed referee comes to a close”
3×3 offers great opportunities to both aspiring and experienced referees. The diverse competition network brings many chances to develop the 3×3-game specific skills each season, supported by a systematic clinic and referee development program. The 3×3 refereeing program is also designed to support the dual career path of officiating both 3×3 and basketball.