Rwandan referee Salima Mukansanga is set to become the first woman to officiate at the Africa Cup of Nations tournament

History is set to be made as Rwandan female referee Salima Mukansanga is set to make history at the ongoing African Cup of Nations as the first woman to ever officiate at the tournament.

Salima Mukansanga is a 33-year-old Rwandan referee who is a highly experienced and well-respected official in women’s football. Salima has officiated matches at the Women’s World Cup, Africa Women’s Cup of Nations, and the CAF Women’s Champions League. She also served as a referee in the women’s football event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Japan.

Salima Mukansanga is one of the 24 central referees picked by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to referee at the tournament in Cameroon. The Rwanda-born is one of the four female match officials who will officiate at the tournament in Cameroon. The other three female referees are; Carine Atemzabong (Cameroon), Fatiha Jermoumi (Morocco), and Bouchra Karboubi (Morocco) — the three will officiate as assistant referees while Salima will officiate as the center referee.

At a very young age, Salima Makansanga wanted to become a professional basketball player but later decided to become a referee when she was 18 years old. Since then, she has become one of the continent’s most respected referees. Since 2018, Salima Mukansanga has officiated dozens of football matches in her home country of Rwanda. Her first international tournament was the women’s football competition at the 2015 All-Africa Games in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.

This is not Salima’s first time making history. She was one of only three African female referees at the 2019 FIFA women’s World cup along with Gladys Lengwe of Zambia and Ethiopia’s Lidya Tafesse Abebe – She is the first female Rwandan referee to officiate a football match during the Olympics games, and she was the only African referee at the U17 Women’s World Cup 2018.

We wish Salima good luck!

Author: Abu Bakarr Jalloh

Abu Bakarr Jalloh is a Sierra Leonean content writer, author, Neo Pan-African and founder of The African Dream, an online platform for inspiring, positive and compelling African stories. Contact: WhatsApp: +23276211583