Fri, 02 Jun 2023

An all-female team officiated at the match between Guinea and Zimbabwe in Yaounde. The Confederation of African Football was proud of the first. Zimbabwe also had something to cheer. Likewise Comoros.

Equality ahoy.

So this is where we are in mid January of 2022. The 33rd edition of the Cup of Nations and a match is officated by an-all female team for the first time. History was in its pomp at the Group B game between Guinea and Zimbabwe. Salima Mukansanga, who has overseen fixtures at the Tokyo Olympics and the 2019 women's World Cup, was the boss. The 33-year-old was aided by Carine Atemzabong from Cameroon and the Moroccan Fatiha Jermoumi. "She [Mukansanga] has had to overcome serious obstacles to reach this level and she deserves a lot of credit," said Eddy Maillet who's in charge of the men and women in black at the tournament. "This moment is not just for Salima but for every young girl in Africa who has passion for football and who sees herself as a referee in the future."


And the momentous occasion was replicated on the pitch where Zimbabwe won their first game at the competition since 2006. Knowledge Musona and Kudakwashe Mahachi got the goals in the first-half. Naby Keita pulled one back in the second period for Guinea but the Warriors held on for the victory. They're on the way home but happy.


With the 2019 runners-up Senegal drawing with Malawi over in Bafoussam to claim Group B, Guinea finished second and Malawi third. Their four points have put them in the frame to advance to the last-16 as one of the four best third-placed teams - which would be their first time in the knockout stages.

Thirst for firsts

While on the subject of never done befores or first time evers, On their debut trip to the extravaganza, Comoros have won a game. Even if they don't make it into the knockout stages as one of the four best third-placed teams, they'll have a triumph to savour for the ages. Amir Abdou's men downed four-time champions Ghana 3-2 in a wonderfully entertaining encounter in Garoua. It had everything: a red card, loads of goals, virile challenges, a plucky underdog, a titan a-tottering. And then vanquished.

Going, going Ghana

Intrepid as ever, the review set out after Ghana's downfall to take the pulse of the fans. It was racing. Understandably not happy about elimination after the group stages for the first time since 2006 - when Zimbabwe beat them. Oh the symmetry. And we weaved between the sullen groups waiting to be bussed off into footballing oblivion. They weren't too delighted with the Ghana boss Milovan Rajevac. "For Comoros to beat Ghana - bad," said one unhappy chappy. "The coach has got to go," he added. "He can't think." Wrong. Rajevac has mused. He says he wants another crack and is staying to lead Ghana in the play-offs for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The review says Ghanaian football chiefs should draft in Barack Obama to do the rallying. Altogether now: "Yes we Milovan."

Originally published on RFI

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