First Women Referees to Start Training in Morocco for Under 17 AFCON

Referee Jones Rukyaa Kabakama

Rabat – On Monday, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced the 15 referees and 14 assistant referees who will undergo a training course in Casablanca from March 31 to April 4. The referees must pass medical, physical, and theoretical tests to make the final list for the tournament, scheduled for April 14-28 in Tanzania.

The CAF referees committee meeting made the list with CAF President Ahmad Ahmad on February 26 at the headquarters in Cairo.

According to Total Women’s Africa Cup of Nations’ Twitter post, “For the first time, women referees will officiate at a men’s tournament, U-17 AFCON Tanzania 2019. The trail blazers are Jonesia Kabakama, Mary Njoroge, and Lidwine Rakotozafinoro.”

Kabakama is a Tanzanian woman, Rakotozafinoro is a 40-year old woman from Madagascar, and  Njoroge is a 27-year-old Kenyan woman.

Kabakama has officiated two matches, between Mali and Cameroon and between South Africa and Mali. As for Njoroge, she  officiated the African Women’s Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon in 2016 and was nominated to officiate in the FIFA Under 20 Women’s World Cup.

According to an interview with CAF, Kabakama, a teacher and an entrepreneur, stated: “After seeing no real opportunities at playing football, I turned to refereeing, and have loved it ever since.”