CAF have proved they are poised towards encouraging female referees officiating in male football competitions.
This was observed in the match between South Africa and Zambia in the ongoing 2019 U-23 African Cup of Nations hosted by Egypt.
The match which was played at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo on Saturday evening ended in barren draw. But what caught the attention of football lovers most was the presence of a female centre referee who officiated the match.
It was historic for Rwanda’s Salma Mukasanga as she took the centre spot to officiate the tie. More so, she was also ably assisted by another female referee Fathia Jermoumi from Morocco.
The assigning of Salma Mukasanga to be the centre referee was the second time in CAF history that a female referee will stand as centre referee in a men’s match.
Historically, she also became the first female to officiate at the U-23 AFCON. There were also positive reactions about the historic moment.
Reactions which came after the match showed that it was an idea that should be welcomed, and topmost whose reactions went in the positive direction came from the two coaches who lauded the initiative.
For South Africa Coach David Notoane, he was quoted by cafonline.com to say after the match : “Today’s referee is a qualified one and I think she did a great job. I believe this is a fantastic decision from CAF and we have to promote and support such initiative” .
For Zambia’s Coach Beston Chambeshi, he was also quoted by cafonline.com after the match to say: ” Having a female referee is a good initiative and it needs all our support. Today’s referee had a good game and this is good for football”.
It will be recalled that the first time a female ever officiated in men football competition organized by CAF was in 2019 during the AFCON U-17.