History awaits as female referees to take charge of Afcon match

Salima Rhadia Mukansanga

Rwandese referee Salima Rhadia Mukansanga.

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • Eddy Maillet, CAF’s Head of Referees, said the new development is a result of the continental football body’s clear commitment and investment to improve and advance the standard of refereeing in Africa. 
  • “We are super proud of Salima because she has had to work exceptionally hard to be where she is today,” Eddy Maillet is quoted in a statement on CAF’s website.

Rwandan-born referee Salima Rhadia Mukansanga will Tuesday make history when she officiates the group stage game between Zimbabwe and Guinea at the ongoing delayed 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, becoming the first woman to referee a match at men’s continental football tournament.

The Warriors of Zimbabwe will lock horns with the Syli Nationale of Guinea who are top of Group ‘B’ with four points following their 1-0 victory over Malawi in the opener and a draw against Senegal in their second outing on Friday.

Mukansanga, 35, will take charge of the game as a central referee and part of a quartet of female match officials selected by Caf.

The other women are assistant referees Cameroonian Carine Atemzabong and Fatiha Jermoumi and Bouchra Karboubi from Morocco.

It will also be the first time ever that an all-women team will officiate a match at the  tournament since the competition was established some 65 years ago.

Mukansanga had earlier made history when she was the fourth official during Guinea's 1-0 victory over Malawi in a Group ‘B’ opener on Monday, January 10 at the Bafoussam Omnisport Stadium in Kouekong.

Eddy Maillet, CAF’s Head of Referees, said the new development is a result of the continental football body’s clear commitment and investment to improve and advance the standard of refereeing in Africa. 

“We are super proud of Salima because she has had to work exceptionally hard to be where she is today,” Eddy Maillet is quoted in a statement on CAF’s website.

“We know that for a woman, she has had to overcome serious obstacles to reach this level and she deserves a lot of credit. This moment is not just for Salima but for every young girl in Africa who has passion for football and who sees herself as a referee in the future,” Eddy Maillet said further in the statement.

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