Johannesburg — Rwandan referee Salima Mukansanga on Tuesday evening will make history as the first woman to take charge of an Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) match, when Zimbabwe play Guinea in their Group B clash in Yaounde.
Mukansanga will lead an all-women official list of assistant referees Carine Atemzabong of Cameroon) and Fatiha Jermoumi of Morocco as well as another Moroccan to fill the role of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in Bouchra Karboubi.
On January 10, Mukansanga was appointed as the fourth official for the Afcon Group B match between Guinea and Malawi in Bafoussam. It meant she was the first woman to be appointed as any official for an Afcon match.
Confederation of African Football (Caf) head of referees, Eddy Maillet said it was an important moment in African football. He added that it was due to Caf’s “clear commitment and investment to improve and advance the standard of refereeing in Africa.”
Maillet said: “We are super proud of Salima because she has had to work exceptionally hard to be where she is today. 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.”
The four women were also among 19 African referees chosen to officiate in the 2023 Women’s World Cup. Mukansanga and Karboubi will be part of a select group of officials set to perform as head referees.
Meanwhile, Atemzabong and Jermoumi will perform assistant referee duties at the showpiece event.