Rwanda’s Salima Mukansanga and Akhona Makalima of South Africa are among 12 African match officials selected for the 2023 Women’s World Cup. Mukansanga, who made history by becoming the first female referee from Africa to officiate at the men’s World Cup in Qatar, was selected among the centre referees alongside Makalima, Vincentia Amedome (Togo) and Bouchra Karboubi (Morocco).
Cameroon’s Carine Atezambong, Diana Chikotesha (Zambia), Moroccan duo Soukaina Hamdi and Fatiha Jermoumi, Mali’s Fanta Kone, Mary Njoroge of Kenya and Queency Victoire from Mauritania are the assistant referees while Adil Zourak will serve as the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).
Mukansanga and Makalima are among Africa’s most experienced referees with the former breaking the glass ceiling in 2022 when she became the first female referee from the continent to take charge of the Africa Cup of Nations before her big assignment in Qatar. Makalima, meanwhile, is highly respected in South Africa where she has been officiating in the PSL since 2014 while her international assignments include Caf Champions League and the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.
“As always, the criteria we have used is ‘quality first’ and the selected on-field match officials represent the highest level of refereeing worldwide,” said the chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, Pierluigi Collina.
Nigeria, who will be represented by the Super Falcons at the global tournament in Australia and New Zealand, missed out from the list of referees released by FIFA on Monday. It is a continuation of the West African nation losing out on major refereeing assignments with the 2023 crew a bigger number compared to 2019 when Africa had only two centre referees.
African champions South Africa, beaten finalists Morocco, Zambia, bronze winners at the 2022 WAFCON, and nine-time continental champions Nigeria will fly Africa’s flag at the World Cup, scheduled between June 20 and August 20.