AFCON 2021: History as first all-female referees take charge Tuesday

Rwandan-born referee, Salima Rhadia Mukansanga, will make history when she becomes the first woman to referee a match at the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on Tuesday and indeed, lead an all-female officiating team.

A statement on the CAF official website said Mukansanga, 35, will take charge of the group stage match between Zimbabwe and Guinea on Tuesday at 17:00 local time (16:00 GMT) at Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde.

She is part of the quartet selected as match officials at the match; making it the first time ever that an all-women team officiates a match at an AFCON tournament since the competition was established.

The other women match officials are assistant referees Carine Atemzabong (Cameroon) and Fatiha Jermoumi (Morocco) as well as VAR referee Bouchra Karboubi (Morocco).

On Jan. 10, Mukansanga made history by becoming the first woman to officiate a match in the AFCON when she was appointed as a fourth official in the game between Guinea and Malawi in Bafoussam.

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CAF Head of Referees, Eddy Maillet, said this historic moment of an all female referee taking charge of a match at AFCON was as a result of CAF’s clear commitment and investment to improve and advance the standard of refereeing in Africa.

“Part of this journey is the ‘Star Programme’ initiated by FIFA and CAF to develop referees.

“We are super proud of Salima because she has had to work exceptionally hard to be where she is.

“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,” Maillet said.

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