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The Six Female Referees At The African Cup Of Nations And Their Countries

Salima Mukansanga: Rwanda
Akhona Makalima: South Africa
Bouchra Karboubi: Morocco
Diana Chikotesha: Zambia
Rivet Cinquela: Mauritius
Carine Atezambong: Cameroon

For years, referees in the Africa Cup of Nations and other football championships was a male dominated field. This was until 2021 when the first female referee was introduced. The trend would continue in 2022 when three women were chosen as referees at the FIFA world cup.

This involvement of women in football continues as six women have been chosen to officiate the delayed 2023 Afcon championships. The six women who are among the 68 match officials are: 

Salima Mukansanga

Salima made history as the first female referee to officiate the African Cup of Nation men’s game during the 2021 tournament held in Cameroon.

In 2022, the trained nurse was among the three female referees at the FIFA World Cup held in Qatar. 

Her impressive performance garnered her numerous fans who are excited by her appointment in the 2023 Afcon champions. In 2023, she also officiated the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia. 

Akhona Makalima 

The South African National has been a FIFA referee since 2014. She is a well-known referee in South Africa and has played roles in FIFA, the Premier Soccer League, the SAFA Women’s League, and the South African Football Association (SAFA).

In the international scene, she made her debut at the Women’s world cup in 2022. 

Bouchra Karboubi

The Moroccan national is a woman of firsts. She was the first Arab referee to officiate at the Women’s World cup in 2023. In May 2022, she also made history in Morocco after becoming the first woman in Morocco and the first in the Arab world to referee the finals of a male professional competition during the Morocco Throne Cup. 

The police officer by profession had always wanted to be a referee and in 2007 became a national referee and an international one in 2016. 

Diana Chikotesha 

Diana started her career as a match official in 2014 before rising to a referee. The Zambian, often referred to as Super Diana, was thrust into the limelight in 2022 after taking charge of the CAF Women’s Champions League, FIFA Women’s u20 world cup and the African Women’s Nations Cup. 

Rivet Cinquela

The Mauritius native served as the official at the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations and the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. She has also been in charge of VAR in CAF Champions League matches. 

Carine Atezambong 

Having developed an intense interest in sports while in high school, the Cameroonian took up karate and later judo. She then decided to take up football and trained as a referee. In 2009, she became referee of Cameroon’s Women National Championships. She joined men’s league 2.

In 2014, she moved to men’s league 1, becoming the only woman to referee a men’s football championship. In 2015, the International Federation of Football Association (FIFA) appointed her as international referee.

From then, she has refereed several men’s championships, such as, African Cup of Nations (CAN) in 2016, the African Games in Brazzaville in 2015, the qualifying matches for the World Cup and the Olympic Games.

Amount of money AFCON Referees are paid per match

  • Referees pocket USD1,200 (approximately Ksh192,000 at the current exchange of Ksh160) per match.
  • The amount was raised from USD750 to the USD1,500 by former Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Ahmad Ahmad.

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