Three female match officials took part in a training course as part of preparations for the now cancelled African Nations Championship (CHAN) that had been scheduled for 4-25 April 2020 in Cameroon.
The three whistlers are Ethiopian central referee Lidya Tafesse and assistant referees, Bernadettar Kwimbira (Malawi) and Mimisen Iyorhe. They joined the rest of the panel comprising of 19 referees and 19 assistant referees for a five-day course held at the Technical Centre of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation in Rabat.
CHAN 2020 would have been the third major men’s competitions to have female match officials after the 2019 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations in Tanzania and the 2019 U-23 Africa Cup of Nations held in Egypt.
CAF Refereeing Director Eddy Maillet said that the decision to include women referees is to provide a platform for a high level of competition considering the limited number of women's tournaments.
“We launched this ground-breaking initiative during the U-17 AFCON in Tanzania last April and the result was inspiring. During the U-23 AFCON in November in Egypt, the performance of the female referees was impressive which saw two of them (Fathia Jermouni and Salma Mukansanga) taking part in the third-place match.," he told cafonline.com.
CHAN was cancelled on Tuesday after CAF medical committee in consultation with Cameroon authorities and WHO advised that it poses a health risk as the deadly coronavirus sweeps across the continent.