In 2015, South Africa’s Akhona Makalima made history as the first woman to officiate a men's professional football match in Africa. Four years after, CAF has decided to appoint female referees for this year’s Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations.
As you may know, the Under-17 AFCON is exclusively a men’s tournament. So, this decision is particularly groundbreaking, as it will be the first time female referees will handle men’s tournament at the continental level.
According to the CAF website, the appointed female referees are Jonesia Kabakama from Tanzania, Mary Njoroge from Kenya and Lidwine Rakotozafinoro from Madagascar. They will join 26 male officials to undergo a training course in Casablanca.
So, while countries like Iran are busy canceling match broadcasts for the ridiculous reason that a woman is a referee, we’re super glad to see CAF showing a good example to African countries by taking a progressive stand in match officiating.
For the first time, women referees will officiate at a men's tournament, @Total U-17 AFCON Tanzania 2019.The trail blazers are Jonesia Kabakama,— Total Women's Africa Cup of Nations (@CAF_AWCON) March 11, 2019
Mary Njoroge & Lidwine Rakotozafinoro.They will take part in a training course from 31 March to April in Morocco #TotalAFCONU17 pic.twitter.com/HRwznbnuvd