Africa Defense Forum
ADF is a professional military magazine published quarterly by U.S. Africa Command to provide an international forum for African security professionals. ADF covers topics such as counter terrorism strategies, security and defense operations, transnational crime, and all other issues affecting peace, stability, and good governance on the African continent.

Female Football Referees In a League of Their Own


Three female referees made history at the African Nations Championship quarterfinals in Limbe, Cameroon.

Ethiopian referee Lidya Tafesse and her assistants, Malawian Bernadettar Kwimbira and Nigerian Mimisen Iyorhe, became the first women to control a match at a men’s senior Confederation of African Football tournament.

The breakthrough came two years after women handled matches at the African under-23 and under-17 Cup of Nations tournaments. Tafesse, a former professional basketball player, tolerated no foul play as she yellow-carded three Tanzanians within 10 minutes during the second half.

Male footballers often dispute decisions against them, but most accepted without hesitation the rulings of Tafesse and her assistants at the Stade Omnisport in the southwestern coastal resort.

Confederation refereeing manager Eddy Maillet from the Seychelles was pleased as the trio created history eight days into the sixth edition of the Nations Championship.

“The [championship] is the second-most-senior national team competition in the continent after the Africa Cup of Nations,” he said. “It is a wonderful platform for Lidya, Bernadettar and Mimisen to prove what they are capable of. They competed with male referees for places at this tournament, and now they have made history.”

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