Abongile Sodumo, from first-class cricketer to umpire!

“He has high aspirations of umpiring at the highest level”

By Maxwell Levine

The sky is the limit for former Border semi-professional captain Abongile Sodumo as he is thriving in his career as an umpire after retiring from playing in 2015.

This is after Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive officer Jacques Faul announced that Sodumo and Mazizi Gampu have been selected on the first-class panel of umpires for the 2020/2021 season.

On congratulating the pair, Faul confirmed that the organisation would continue to focus on developing umpires through exchange programs with other International Cricket Council (ICC) member countries, including Australia, India and New Zealand.

“Congratulations to all our umpires on their deserved appointments for the approaching season, “said Faul.

“Umpires are central to the game of cricket and we are fortunate to have an extremely competent group of match officials. The promotion of Abongile and Mazizi are indicative of the successes achieved within the CSA Umpire Acceleration Program and the progress they have made since joining the reserve panel two years ago.”

Abongile Sodumo was born and raised in Masinghatha Village, King Williams Town and attended Dale College where he matriculated.

He further studied Sport and Physical Recreational Studies at the University of Western Cape (UWC)

Sodumo, a wicketkeeper batsman, who was the first captain to win a trophy for Border in 115 years, played 104 first-class matches, 73 List A games and 31 T20s. He scored 3325 runs and took 281 catches with 34 stumpings.

During his playing career he played for the Warriors, Eastern Province, Western Province and played in England for Stone Stratford.

Sodumo also played for the South African Universities and was vice captain.  He won two trophies in three years with Border.

Abongile first started as a scorer before being introduced to what used to be the Bakers Mini Cricket (now KFC Cricket). He represented Border at U/15, U/17, U/18, Border Academy and Border A and B sides respectively. At the tender age of 15 he played for both the Border U/17 and represented SA U/17 team.

After retiring from the game, Sodumo moved straight into umpiring and has slowly built a name and a reputation for himself.

Soduma said at the time, “I thought I was going to miss playing but I have really enjoyed umpiring since hanging up my gloves.”

He has done duty at various tournaments and was fortunate enough to umpire in several finals.

These include the 2016 Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Week, the Coca-Cola Schools T20 Challenge, Rural Week, Varsity Cup, Community Cup, the Club Champs and many more.

He wrote his nationals in 2018 for reserve panel which he passed.

“I am ecstatic to get this promotion to be in the elite panel in CSA. I never thought I will do this after my playing days but after persuasion from Shaun George who is a top elite umpire, I gave it a go. I want to establish myself in the structure and earn the respect from my colleagues and players. As a former player the transition is not a train smash,” said Sodumo.

Abongile is a true reflection of sheer hard work and the will to succeed.

He is committed in uplifting his community and has high aspirations of umpiring at the highest level.

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