Three Women Referees Set to Make History at Men’s AFCON

Tanzania’s Jonesia Kabakama, Kenya’s Mary Njoroge and Madagascar’s Lidwine will be making history as the first female referees in a CAF men’s tournament at the 2019 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations in Tanzania.

The trio alongside 26 male referees will undergo a training course in Casablanca ahead of the age grade competition, the football governing body in Africa, CAF revealed yesterday.

The selected referees will also undergo medical, physical and theoretical tests in the course of the training.

The groundbreaking decision is proof of CAF’s devotion to improving women football in the continent according to a statement released on the body’s official website.

“It will also give women match officials a bigger platform to expose their talents and also gain experience at the competitive level considering the limited matches and competitions which often affects their progress and development.” The statement read.

In 2015, South Africa’s Akhona Makalima made history as the first woman to officiate a men’s professional football match in Africa in a Premier Soccer League (PSL) match between the University of Pretoria Football Club and Mpumalanga Black Aces.

Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets will face Angola, Uganda and hosts Tanzania in Group A while Guinea, Cameroon, Morocco and Senegal will battle each other for spots in the semifinal of the competition billed to commence from April 14 to 28.

The semi-finalists will represent Africa at the FIFA U17 World Cup. The venue is yet to be decided.