Salima Mukansanga became the first woman to whistle a match of the Africa Cup of Nations.© AFP
Rwandan 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 Yaounde on Tuesday. On Monday, a statement from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said Mukansanga would field the match with two female assistant referees, Cameroon’s Carine Atemzabong and Morocco’s Fatiha Jermoumi.
However, when the umpires took the field for the game at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in the Cameroonian capital, both assistant referees were male.
CAF did not immediately explain why the assistant referees were substituted.
Mukansanga made history after the previous 32 editions of the 1957 flagship African tournament were refereed exclusively by men.
Previously, the Rwandan was the fourth official when Guinea defeated Malawi in Bafoussam on January 10.
“We are extremely proud of Salima because she has had to work extremely hard to be where she is today,” said Seychelles Confederation of African Football (CAF) referee boss Eddy Maillet.
“We know that as a woman she has 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 every young girl in Africa with a passion for football and who sees herself as a referee in the future.”
Leaders Guinea need one point to secure a place in the second round, while Zimbabwe plays for pride and has been eliminated after two defeats.
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