Rwandan referee creates Africa Cup of Nations history

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Yaounde (AFP) – Rwanda’s Salima Mukansanga became the first woman to referee an Africa Cup of Nations match when she oversaw the Group B clash between Guinea and Zimbabwe in Yaoundé on Tuesday.

A statement from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Monday said Mukansanga would manage the match with two female assistant referees, Carine Atemzabong from Cameroon and Fatiha Jermoumi from Morocco.

However, when the officials entered the pitch for the game at the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium in the Cameroonian capital, the two assistant referees were male.

CAF did not immediately explain why the assistant referees had been changed.

Mukansanga made history after the 32 previous editions of Africa’s flagship tournament in 1957 were refereed exclusively by men.

Previously, the Rwandan was the fourth referee when Guinea beat Malawi on January 10 in Bafoussam.

“We are very proud of Salima because she had to work exceptionally hard to be where she is today,” said Confederation of African Football (CAF) referee boss Eddy Maillet of Seychelles.

“We know that as a woman she 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 all the young girls in Africa who have a passion for football and who see themselves as referees in the future.”

Leaders Guinea need a point to secure a place in the second round while Zimbabwe play for pride after being knocked out after two defeats.

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