Salima Mukansanga has made history today as the first woman to referee at the ongoing African Cup of Nations tournament. The 33-year-old Salima is part of the FIFA International Referees List which gives her the power to officiate international matches and wear a FIFA badge on her uniform.
Salima has had a chance to oversee matches in Japan’s 2019 Women’s World Cup held in France, Africa Women’s Cup of Nations, and Rwandan League, 2018 female under 17 world cup, CAF Women’s Champions League and Under 23 Olympic qualifier. Salima is also remembered as the lady referee who oversaw the just concluded women’s football event at the 2020 Olympics held in Japan.
This year Salima will be officiating at AFCON, one of the major international men’s football tournaments. She joins other three women, Bouchra Karboubi, Fatiha Jermoumi and Carine Atemzabong chosen by CAF to oversee this year’s AFCON matches among a list of 63 officials. Unlike Salima the other three women will not be refereeing the matches but will have different roles.
Salima’s career took a turnaround fifteen years ago when she decided to specialize in refereeing. Before then she was a basketball player and spent part of her teenagehood enjoying the game. Salima is today likened to Pierluigi Collina, one of the greatest referees in international football.
Salima Mukansanga role in AFCON
During this year’s 34th Africa Cup of Nations tournament being held in Cameroon, Salima will be officiating as a center referee. She will therefore be in charge of settling and controlling things at the center stage.
AFCON is one of the major international men’s tournaments and for Salima this is considered one of her most lucrative roles in her career.