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AFCON 2023: Meet selected Female Referees


Jan 6, 2024

By Sharon Ekhiwere

The 2023 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) scheduled to begin on January 13, will have match officials from over 30 African countries. The match officials list consists of 26 referees, 30 assistant referees, and 12 VAR referees. Remarkably, five female referees have made the list of officials that will oversee the continent’s biggest showpiece. In this publication, platinumnewsng.com takes a close look at the 5 female referees who made this list.

Akhona Makalima (South Africa)
South Africa’s Akhona Makalima was at the 2023 edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia & New Zealand 2023. will serve as a VAR official at the 2023 men’s AfCON in Cote d’Ivoire.

Akhona Makalima at the Hollywoodbets Cosafa Women’s Championship 2023. PHOTO CREDIT: X (formerly Twitter)

Makalima has been a listed international referee for FIFA since 2014. The tough-as-nut Makalima has over the past few years proven her professionalism and dedication to the game and has officiated several Fifa and CAF tournaments.

Salima Mukansanga (Rwanda)
Born in 1988, Salima is a referee from Rwanda who has been a listed international referee for FIFA since 2012. She was an official at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

Salima Mukansanga in action. PHOTO CREDIT: dw.com

In 2022, Mukansanga became the first woman to referee at the African Cup of Nations. She has officiated at the Olympics, FIFA Women’s World Cup, Africa Women’s Cup of Nations and CAF Women’s Champions League. In 2022 she was one of three women referees selected to officiate at the FIFA World Cup to be hosted in Qatar. Mukansanga became the first female African to officiate at the men’s top football event on 22 November 2022. She was the fourth official when France, the defending champions, defeated Australia 4–1. She was recognized as one of the BBC 100 Women in December 2022.

On 9 January 2023, FIFA appointed her to the officiating pool for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Karboubi Bouchra (Morocco)
Bouchra is the only female who is listed as a lead referee at the tournament by the tournament organisers.

Karboubi was appointed as a national referee in 2007 and then an international referee in 2016. Two years later, she endured her continental baptism of fire at the African Cup of Nations for women, organized in Ghana.

Karboubi Bouchra in action in the final of the Moroccan Throne Cup in May 2022. PHOTO CREDIT: goal.com

In 2020, she became the first woman to referee a game in the first division of the Moroccan men’s professional league (Botola Pro1).

More recently, her name did the rounds when she was appointed as a member of the refereeing staff for the CAN 2022 final in February between Senegal and Egypt in Cameroon. On Saturday, she was assisted by another female referee appointed by the Royal Moroccan Football Federation, Fatiha Jermoumi, to referee the final of the Throne Cup.

The 34-year-old Moroccan woman, who is also a police officer, is being held up as a symbol of a country that is moving towards greater gender equality.

Rivet Maria Pakuita Cinquela (Mauritius)
Maria Rivet will be one of only three female referees operating in the VAR room alongside Salima Mukansanga and Akhona Makalima.

Maria Rivet officiating a game

She was the fourth official for the 2022 Women’s AfCON final between South Africa and Morocco.

Pakita Rivet was one of the match officials selected to officiate women’s football matches at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Diana Chikotesha (Zambia)
Diana Chikotesha will become the first Zambian female referee to take part in the men’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

Diana Chikotesha on the line of duty. PHOTO CREDIT: facebook

She will officiate in matches as an assistant referee. She also featured in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Reference: www.trtafrika.com

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