Rwandan Salima Mukansanga, 33, has made history today as the first woman to ever referee at the African Cup of Nations.
She is among the only four women (out of the 63 match officials) at this year’s AFCON tournament. Others are Cameroon’s Carine Atemzabong, Morocco’s Fatiha Jermoumi and Bouchra Karboubi. None of the three will referee matches, unlike Salima.
Salima started off as a basketball player before specialising in refereeing fifteen years ago. She is part of the FIFA International Referees List, and has taken charge of games at the Women’s World Cup, Africa Women’s Cup of Nations and the CAF Women’s Champions League.
Only recently, she was officiating women’s football at the Tokyo Olympics. The AFCON is touted as her biggest career achievement so far.