Three female match officials have taken part in a training course as part of preparations for the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) Cameroon 2020, scheduled for 4-25 April 2020.
The trio – Ethiopian central referee Lidya Tafesse and assistant referees, Bernadettar Kwimbira (Malawi) and Mimisen Iyorhe joined their male counterparts, 19 referees and 19 assistant referees for a five-day course held from 10-14 March 2020 at the Technical Centre of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation in Rabat.
It will be third major men’s competitions to have female match officials after the Total U-17 Africa Cup of Nations Tanzania 2019 and the Total U-23 Africa Cup of Nations Egypt 2019.
According to CAF Refereeing Director, Eddy Maillet, the decision is to provide a platform of more competitions for the female referees, considering the limited number of women’s tournaments and also to improve their match fitness.
“We launched this ground-breaking initiative during the U-17 AFCON in Tanzania last April and the result was inspiring. During the U-23 AFCON in November in Egypt, the performance of the female referees was impressive which saw two of them (Fathia Jermouni and Salma Mukansanga) taking part in the third place match.
“The CHAN is the next senior competition after the Africa Cup of Nations, and it will provide a major platform for the female trio to prove that they are capable. It was interesting to see them compete for a spot in the final tournament with their male counterparts,” Maillet said.
The five-day training program focused primarily on the application of Video Assistant Referees, which will be deployed at the sixth edition of the competition designed exclusively for footballers playing in their domestic leagues. It was under the supervision of experienced instructors such as Jerome Damon (South Africa), Jean Claude Birimushahu (Burundi), Hadqa Yahya (Morocco), Hannachi Boubaker (Tunisia) and Mohamed Hussein Ali (Djibouti)
It was the second major seminar for the pre-selected match officials after a similar one in Cairo, Egypt last February.
Tafesse is one of the most experienced female match officials having participated in major competitions including the last FIFA Women’s World Cup in France in 2019. Kwimbira has several Women’s Africa Cup of Nations participation under her name in addition to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, whilst Iyorhe served at the 2016 and 2018 Women’s AFCONS.