A trailblazing decision will for the first time see women referees handling games of the opposite sex on the continent, debuting at the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations Tanzania 2019. The landmark conclusion was the highlight of the CAF Referees Committee meeting held on 26 February 2019 at the CAF Headquarters in Cairo, and had in attendance CAF President Ahmad Ahmad.
The historic decision is a testament to CAF’s commitment to developing the women’s football. It will also give women match officials a bigger platform to expose their talents and also gain experience at the competitive level considering the limited matches and competitions, which often affects their progress and development. In line with that, the trailblazers consist of Tanzanian referee Jonesia Rukyaa Kabakama and assistant referees Mary Wanjiru Njoroge (Kenya) and Lidwine Rakotozafinoro (Madagascar), who are among the preselected 29-match officials to undergo a training course in Rabat, Morocco, from 31 March to 4 April 2019, to fine-tune for the tournament. 15 referees and 14 assistant referees from 25 Member Associations will undergo medical, physical and theoretical test to select the conclusive list of match officials for the final tournament scheduled for 14-28 April 2019 in Tanzania. For the final tournament, host Tanzania, Nigeria, Angola and Uganda are in Group A, whilst Guinea, Cameroon, Morocco and Senegal constitute Group B. The semi-finalists will qualify to represent the continent at the FIFA U-17 World Cup.