Rwanda’s Salima Mukansanga will make history at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar 2022 by becoming the first African woman referee to officiate a match at the tournament.
Mukansanga, 34, is one of the three female match officials appointed on Thursday May 19, by the world football governing body, Fifa, to officiate at the forthcoming men’s World Cup finals in Qatar.
Her female colleagues who also made it to the final list of 36 match referees include Stephanie Frappart of France and Japan’s Yoshimi Yamashita.
Brazil’s Neuza Back, Mexico’s Karen Diaz Medina and American Kathryn Nesbitt join the list of 69 assistant referees.
It is the first time that women have been selected to officiate games at the top men’s soccer tournament which will be held in Qatar this year.
Mukansanga rose to the limelight in January when she became the first woman to officiate at the men’s Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
Fifa Referees Committee chairman Pierluigi told Agence France Presse that he prided himself on being part of the milestone.
“We are very happy that … we have been able to call up female match officials for the first time in the history of a FIFA World Cup,” said Pierluigi.
“This concludes a long process that began several years ago with the deployment of female referees at FIFA men’s junior and senior tournaments.
“In this way, we clearly emphasise that it is quality that counts for us and not gender. I would hope that in the future, the selection of elite women’s match officials for important men’s competitions will be perceived as something normal and no longer as sensational.”