Salima Mukansanga has made history at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon, by becoming the first woman to officiate at the top most men’s tournament.
The 33-year-old Rwandan made her official debut on Monday in the group B game between Guinea and Malawi as fourth Official and will remain the only woman at this years AFCON.
In the past she has officiate matches in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Africa Women’s Cup of Nations and the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) Women’s Champions League as well as the top men’s teams in the Rwanda Premier League
Ms Mukansanga dreamed of becoming a professional basketball player, but opted to become a football referee 15 years ago and has never looked back.
Three other women referees also made history during the African Nations Championship (CHAN) quarterfinals in January 2021.
Ethiopian referee Lidya Tafesse and her assistants, Malawian Bernadettar Kwimbira and Nigerian Mimisen Iyorhe, became the first women to control a match at a senior CAF male tournament.
The breakthrough came two years after women referees handled matches at the African under-23 and under-17 Cup of Nations tournaments.
Tafesse, a former professional basketball player, tolerated no foul play as she yellow-carded three Tanzanians within 10 minutes during the second half.
African male footballers often dispute decisions against them, but most accepted without hesitation the rulings of Tafesse at the Stade Omnisport in the southwestern coastal resort.