Rwandan-born referee Salima Mukansanga has made history as she becomes the first woman to referee a match at the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Mukansanga, 35, officiated the group stage match between Zimbabwe and Guinea on Tuesday, 18 January 2022 at 17:00 local time at Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde.

Salima Mukansanga for AFCON
Bouchra Karboubi

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 Africa Cup of Nations tournament since the competition was established.

Salima Mukansanga for AFCON
Carine Atemzabong

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

On 10 January 2022, Mukansanga made history by becoming the first woman to officiate a match in the Africa Cup of Nations when she was appointed as a fourth official in the game between Guinea and Malawi in Bafoussam.

Fatiha Jermoumi

CAF Head of Referees, Eddy Maillet said this historic moment is 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.

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. “

Salima Mukansanga for AFCON
Salima Mukansanga

FIFA and CAF today signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will pioneer a new era in the advancement of professional refereeing in Africa.

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