Rwanda: Mukansanga Back on Big Stage as FIFA Women’s World Cup Kicks Off

Celebrated Rwandan international referee Salima Mukansanga is set to hit the stage to prove yet again why world football governing body (FIFA) selected her among match officials who will officiate at the highly-anticipated 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup which kicks off in New Zealand and Australia on Thursday, July 20.

Mukansanga, 34, is among four African centre referees selected to officiate world’s most prestigious women football showpiece alongside Moroccan Bouchra Karboubi, Togolese Vicentia Amedome and South African Akhona Makalima.

They will be joined in Australia and New Zealand by African counterparts Carine Fomo (Cameroon), Diana Chikotesha (Zambia), Soukaina Hamidi (Morocco), Fathia Jemoumi (Morocco), Fanta Kone (Mali), Mary Njoroge (Kenya), and Queency Victoire from Mauritius who will be acting as assistant referees.

Mukansanga, who has been an international referee for FIFA since 2012, is making her second appearance in the FIFA Women’s World Cup as a referee as she was part of the referees who handled games at the 2019 edition in France. The United States eventually emerged victorious after beating the Netherlands 2-0 in the final.

She first made history on January 18, 2022, becoming the first female referee to officiate a game at the AFCON when she handled Zimbabwe’s 2-1 victory over Guinea in Group B of the competition in Cameroon.

The Rwandan referee’s rise to stardom left the world of football blown away when she became the first African woman to officiate at the men’s World Cup.

While she could only serve as the fourth match official during France’s 4-1 win over Australia in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Mukansanga returns to the big stage now ready to handle matches as a centre referee.

The 2022 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be held for one month from July 20 to August 20.

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