The idea of perhaps becoming the first African boundary umpire in the Australian Football League (AFL) has some appeal for Buchfelde’s Tafadzwa Dzimano, better known as Taffy.
But the 18-year-old has his priorities right and knows running the boundaries at AAMI Stadium or the MCG are a long way down the track.
“My job this year is to become the best I can with the Barossa, Light and Gawler Football Association,” Taffy said.
2013 will be Taffy’s second year with the BL&G Umpires Association after an unusual introduction.
“I love my food and put on weight very easily so to try and keep a bit fit I was running laps around my home and was spotted by our neighbour Garry Watson, who is well known in the umpiring circles.
“He said why not try boundary umpiring as it involved fitness training and I also would get paid for it. As I was not working it made good sense and I loved it - I got fitter, got paid and loved the social mix with the rest of the umpires - it was fun.
“I just went out for fitness and the money but found I really wanted to be the best I could. My goal this year is to get much fitter to make sure I can be in the right place to make my decision when the ball is over the line and also to keep up the strength to toss the ball in.
“I set myself a goal last year of umpiring a final and I achieved that in the junior grades, and this year I want to try for a senior final but I know I have to work really hard on my fitness and skills. I want to push myself to the point I can just run and run.”
Taffy was born in Zimbabwe but came to Australia in 1999 when his father was offered the chance to do medicine in Adelaide. Because of the family’s like of farm life, the Dzimanos settled on a small acreage at Buchfelde where they run a few cows and grow some vegetables.
“I’m hoping to be accepted into university this year to study health sciences as eventually I would like to become a paramedic. If I do it will mean a busy life but I am absolutely committed to continue umpiring.
“If I can get the boundary umpiring right, in a few years maybe I might like to have a go at field umpiring - but my focus is still on the boundary.”
Taffy said he was proud that he was unique as the first African to be a boundary umpire in the BL&G.