Rwandan to make history as first female African referee to officiate World Cup in Qatar

Salima Mukanisanga. She will be among 36 center referees officiating matches in the 2022 Qatar World Cup./COURTESY

Rwandan Center referee Salima Mukansanga is set to make history as the first female African referee to officiate in the men’s World Cup.

Mukansanga was among 36 center referees list, released by FIFA, to take charge in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The 34-year-old was the first woman to ever referee the African Cup of Nations and is now one of the first women to officiate at the men’s World Cup.

Her first assignment was in the Group B contest between Zimbabwe and Guinea in AFCON that was held in Cameroon early this year.

Mukansanga is among three female center referees who will officiate in this year’s World Cup, the other two being Stéphanie Frappart from France and Yoshimi Yamashita from Japan.

Three other women have been selected to be assistant referees.

The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will be the first world cup where female referees will officiate the male tournament.

Meanwhile, the number of African center referees doubled compared to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Out of the 36 center referees who will officiate in this year’s FIFA World Cup matches, six are Africans.

Bakary Papa Gassama from Gambia will make his third appearance having managed to participate in the previous two World Cup tournaments in Brazil {2014} and Russia {2018} respectively.

Algeria will be represented by Mustapha Ghorbal who is remembered for his two red cards and five yellow cards in the 2020 CAF champions league final when Zamalek faced Al Ahly in an Egyptian affair.

Despite South Africa failing to take part in this year’s tournament, Victor Gomes will represent the only country to host the major competition in Africa, the 2010 edition.

African Champions Senegal will go to Qatar with one center referee as Maguette N’Diaye was also selected to officiate this year’s competition.

The name of Janny Sikazwe from Zambia in the list has shocked many football lovers after making a dramatic decision in the African Nations’ cup this year.

Sikazwe is one of the experienced referees from Africa having officiated the FIFA Club World Cup between Spanish giants Real Madrid and Japanese club Kashima Antlers.

In 2017, Sikazwe also managed to referee the AFCON final against Cameroon and Egypt and this is the second time he officiated the World Cup having made his debut in 2018.

Other ten referees have been selected as assistant referees as well as two VAR officials.