Experienced Ethiopian FIFA Women’s World Cup referee Lidya Tafesse Abebe leads a first all women refereeing team at a CAF senior men’s tournament match on Saturday. Abebe will be assisted by Bernadettar Kwimbira of Malawi and Nigeria’s Mimisen Iyorhe for the Group D match between Namibia and Tanzania at the ongoing CHAN 2020 in Cameroon.
CAF Referee’s Director Eddy Maillet had explained in 2020 when the women were appointed to be at a senior men’s tournament, CAF’s determination to promote women referees across men and women tournaments in the continent. Read Here
The three women are experienced officials in the continent with many AWCON Tournaments under their belts, Abebe and Kwimbira were also at the last FIFA Women’s World Cup, France 2019. Iyorhe is the most experienced senior FIFA official in Nigeria and joins Abebe and Kwimbira on the 2023 FIFA World Cup referees’ shortlist.
Lidya Abebe and Mimisen Iyorhe will be making their tournament debuts while Bernadettar Kwimbira had been part of the mixed team of referees for the Guinea Vs Namibia match earlier in the week.
The 2020 CHAN Tournament is the first continental football tournament to be taking place since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is almost poetic that it is also the first in which a trio of experienced women referees will take charge of a senior men’s CAF Tournament match.