Salima Mukansanga has set history tonight as she became the first-ever female to officiate the African Cup of Nations and men’s FIFA World Cup. Mukansanga was responsible for assisting the referees from the side of the pitch and dealing with substitutes and additional minutes in the game.
Salima Mukansanga was among the three female football officials that were chosen by FIFA to be part of the officials of the Qatar 2023 FIFA World Cup. Three female referees and three female assistant referees are going to be proudly officiating the biggest sports event in the world.
The female refs making history alongside Mukansanga are France’s Stephanie Frappart and Japan’s Yoshimi Yamashita. A total of 129 officials will preside over the games — 36 referees, 69 assistant referees, and 24 video match officials.
Salima Mukansanga (born 1988) is an international football referee from Rwanda who is a listed international referee for FIFA since 2012. She was an official at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. In 2022, Mukansanga became the first woman to referee at the African Cup of Nations, leading out an all-woman officiating team of Fatiha Jermoumi (Morocco), Carine Atemzabong (Cameroon), and Bouchra Karboubi (Morocco) as the VAR. She has officiated at the Olympics, FIFA Women’s World Cup, Africa Women Cup of Nations and CAF Women’s Champions League.
In 2022 she was one of the 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 soccer event.
Mukansanga initially was involved in basketball but took up a career in football after being told that she was too young to join the national under-17 basketball squad.
She approached the Rwanda Football Federation about joining a refereeing course after finishing secondary school but this was declined on the basis of her being too young again. She would later be allowed to take up a course with them after learning the laws of football herself in her own time. At the start of her career, Mukansanga officiated men’s local amateur football matches and women’s national second-division matches in Rwanda.
Biography credit: Wikipedia