A woman referee is the first to take charge of an Africa Cup of Nations match.

referee Salima Mukansanga

She became the first woman to officiate an Africa Cup of Nations game when she took charge of Zimbabwe and Guinea in Cameroon.
Salima Mukansanga, a Rwandan referee, became the first woman to officiate an Africa Cup of Nations game on Tuesday when she took charge of the match between Zimbabwe and Guinea in Cameroon.
Mukansanga walked onto the pitch with the match ball in his hand, accompanied by three male match officials, and Zimbabwe went on to win the game 2-1. Following the game, Zimbabwe supporters said Mukansanga inspired them and that this was a positive step forward for the continent.
“Women are being represented and involved in this sport that for a long time was thought to be for men,” Zimbabwe supporter Felicia Chisepo said.
In Rwanda, young female soccer players from AS Kigali and their coach, Egidie Kayitesi, watched the game on television. “She is someone who values each game, which is why you see Salima at this level,” said Kayitesi, who coached Mukansanga when she was a youth player. “She has a unique personality. Kayitesi added, “When she has a match, she prepares for it.”
CAF Eddy Maillet, CAF’s Head of Referees, stated that this historic moment results from CAF’s clear commitment and investment to improve and advance the standard of refereeing in Africa. The ‘Star Programme,’ launched by FIFA and CAF to develop referees, is a part of this journey.
“We are extremely proud of Salima because she has worked extremely hard to get to where she is today,” Maillet said. We know that, as a woman, she had to overcome significant obstacles to reach this level, and she deserves a lot of credit for that. This is a historic moment not only for Salima but for every young African girl who aspires to be a referee in the future.


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