Rwandan referee Selim Riyadia Mukansanga makes African football history

Rwandan referee Selim Riyadia Mukansanga makes African football history

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For the first time, a match at the African Cup of Nations (CAN) was refereed by a woman. Rwanda’s Salima Riyadia Mukansanga served as the central referee during the meeting between Zimbabwe and Guinea (2-1) on Tuesday, and was assisted by three other women.

Rwanda’s Selima Rdia Mukansanga wrote a new streak in African football history on Tuesday 18th January, becoming the first woman to officiate a match in the Africa Cup of Nations during a meeting between Zimbabwe and Guinea (2-1) in Yaounde.

He was assisted by Cameroonian Karen Atemzabong and Moroccan Fatiha Jarmoumi on the sidelines, and Moroccan Bouchra Karboubi chaired the video arbitration. “This is the first time that an all-female team has run a match in the African Cup of Nations,” the Confederation of African Football said in a statement.

The Rwandan played the role brilliantly. She didn’t particularly stand out, which is always a good sign in judging. In a foul-true match, she scored 34 times and dealt her first cards: 3 to each team.


‘Worked hard to be there’

At the age of thirty-five, Salima Radia Mukansanga already has a long experience behind her. Last week, she became the first woman to officiate at an African Cup of Nations match in Guinea-Malawi.

For CAF Referees Manager Eddie Millett, this is a historic moment: “We are very proud of Salima because she has worked so hard to be what she is today. We know she has had to overcome serious obstacles to reach this level and she is commendable,” he said in a statement.

From basketball to football

However, as reported by the Ivorian news agency, the orange ball intact Radia Mukansanga was attracted for the first time. “I loved basketball and wanted to take it seriously, but getting to the basketball facilities and coaches was difficult. That’s how I ended up refereeing, which I have never regretted,” she told AIP.

The young woman made her career debut in a few matches in Rwanda’s second division men’s league and in women’s matches, before being promoted in 2012 by CAF and taking part in matches on the continent, but as an assistant referee.

Two years later, she managed for the first time as a central referee during an international match, for Zambia and Tanzania in qualifying for the 2014 African Women’s Championship. “Thanks to the way I managed this match, I proved my ability to manage at any level on the continent. It has been an exciting experience. Since then Today, I have been trusted to manage countless international matches in Africa and beyond,” Salima Mukansanga recalls.

In the years that followed, the young referee only progressed to become the central referee at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France. She sums up, “To run a World Cup is the dream of any referee, especially when you come from a country like mine where women’s football is still very low. I feel privileged to have the opportunity.”

Salima Radia Mukansanga was also present this summer at the Tokyo Olympics as a field referee during the Olympic Football Tournament. An impeccable course you should create careers. “This moment is not just for Salima but for every girl in Africa who has a passion for football and sees herself as a future referee,” Eddie Millett insisted.

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