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Burundian referee makes history at BEACH AFCON

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Referee Cynthia Ishimwe during the 2022 Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations match between Senegal and Madagascar. PHOTO/CAF
  • Cynthia Ishimwe became the first woman to officiate at BEACH AFCON
  • She has been hailed as a trailblazer
  • More women are coming into refereeing

Burundi’s Cynthia Ishimwe has made history by being the first woman to referee a match at the Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations.

Ishimwe was one of the match officials at the match between Senegal and Madagascar in Vilankulo on Monday.

The moment was a major milestone for the advancement of women match officials in Africa and comes at the back of another historic feat achieved earlier this year at the Africa Cup of Nations where Salima Mukansanga, who led the first ever team of women match officials at Africa’s flagship event.

CAF Head of Refereeing and Football Technology Noumandiez Doue said it was a huge milestone to have the Burundian break barriers and hailed her as a trailblazer.

Proud of her achievements

Referee Cynthia Ishimwe during the 2022 Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations match between Senegal and Madagascar held at Vilankulos Beach Arena in Vilankulo, Mozambique on 24 October 2022. PHOTO/CAF

“We are all proud of what Cynthia has achieved. It is a massive step in the right direction. This is a significant moment because it not only opens doors for other women match officials in Beach Soccer in Africa, it sets the trend globally,” he said.

Ishimwe said it was the support and the CAF programmes that have prepared her for such moment.

She said: “When I found out that I was going to officiate at the Beach Soccer AFCON, I couldn’t hide my excitement. It is a great privilege to be chosen for the finals of an Africa Cup of Nations and this adventure has been nothing else than enriching,” she noted.

Women refereeing has been on the rise in Africa and Mukansanga has made another stride after the AFCON, by becoming one of three women referees to officiate at the FIFA World Cup for the first time ever.

The two others are Yamashita Yoshimi from Japan and Stephanie Frappart from France.

Elsewhere on the continent, after the completion of the Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, the CECAFA region will now shift focus to the qualifiers for the Under-20 Cup of Nations to be staged in Egypt next year.

U20 AFCON qualifiers start in Khartoum

The qualifiers will off on Friday in Khartoum, Sudan. Djibouti will take on Burundi in the opening match. Seven teams including the reigning champions Uganda will take part in the qualifiers.

According to the fixture Djibouti will face Burundi, while hosts Sudan take on South Sudan in the second match on the same day at the Al Hilal Stadium.

The reigning champions Uganda Kobs will battle Tanzania in the first Group B match on October 29th. After a two day break action will return on November 1st with two Group A matches on card as Burundi face South Sudan and Djibouti take on Sudan.

The best two teams from each group will qualify for the semi final stage.

The final will be played on November 11th. The two finalists will automatically qualify for the U-20 AFCON 2023 to take place in Egypt.

At the last Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations staged in Mauritania, CECAFA representatives Uganda reached the final, with most of the players from that team now absorbed in the senior national team.

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