Salima Mukansanga Set to Become First African Woman to Officiate in the FIFA Men’s World Cup

Salima Mukansanga

A woman referee officiating a men’s tournament is not a very common sight, but Salima Mukansanga has set the trailblazing path for other women in the world of sports.

The 33-year-old Rwandan national first made it to the limelight when she officiated in the 33rd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). She made history as the official referee for the final match of the AFCON tournament between Senegal and Egypt.

Mukansanga has once again made history after being shortlisted as one of the 36 to officiate in Qatar 2022. Though she was selected alongside 2 other women referees Stephanie Frappart from France and Japan’s Yoshimi Yamashita, she is the first African female referee to officiate in a men’s tournament. This is also the first time in the history of the FIFA World Cup that women are being selected to officiate.

Image Credit: ESPN

According to Rwanda’s New Times, Mukansanga was raised in Rusizi District, West Province. She has a bachelor’s degree in Nursing and Midwifery attained from the University of Gitwe, located in Rwanda’s South Province, Ruhango District. Her initial dream was to be a basketballer however, the lack of basic basketball amenities deterred her.

Mukansanga turned to focus on football and during her final year in secondary school, she officiated in a school tournament final game. Thus, the path to a ‘Refereeing’ career was born.

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