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All you need to know about Salima Mukansanga, the first woman referee in the African Cup of Nations
Salima Mukansanga is a female football referee who hails from Rwanda. The phenomenal woman made history as the first woman referee in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and the first African female referee to officiate the FIFA World Cup in 92 years. Netizens are curious to discover her life story and all the details of her professional life. Read all about Salima in this article.
Who was the first African female referee in the World Cup? The sports personality was one of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup officials and was awarded the 2022 Choice Awards Icon Award. As a young girl, Mukansanga was interested in basketball but could not pursue it due to a lack of amenities. Here is the story of the Rwandan national who is causing ripples in the football scene.
Salima Mukansanga's profile and bio summary
Salima Rhadia Mukansanga
35 years old (As of 2024)
Date of birth
July 25, 1988
Breaking barriers in the female referee career
Place of birth
5 feet, 6 inches
University of Gitwe
Social media presence
What is Salima Mukansanga's age?
Salima Mukasanga (35 years old in 2024) was born on July 25, 1988, in Rusizi Province, located west of Rwanda.
Who are Salima Mukansanga's parents?
There is scanty information concerning Salima Mukansanga's biography online. She was born and brought up in Rwanda, but the details of her parents are undisclosed. Additionally, it is not clear if she grew up alongside any siblings.
The referee attended a local primary school before proceeding to St Vincent de Paul Musanze Secondary School. Later, she joined the University of Gitwe for a degree in Nursing and Midwifery.
Is Salima Mukansanga married?
The 35-year-old has not disclosed any information about her love life, and curious netizens have been searching for Salima Mukansanga's husband. It is unclear if she is married, but several online sources have stated that she is likely single. The details of her children, if any, are not public.
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Rwandan referee Salima Mukansanga started playing in primary and secondary school as a young girl. Initially, she was interested in basketball but could not pursue this dream because of insufficient facilities in the school. Additionally, she was disqualified from joining the Under-17 national team because she had yet to attain the required age. In an interview with newtimes.co.rw, the athlete said,
I liked basketball, and wanted to take it very seriously, but access to basketball infrastructure and coaches was hard. That’s how I ended up in refereeing, which I have also never regretted. I love it.
Salima started playing football in her final year of high school. After completing her studies, she approached the Rwanda Football Federation (RFF) about a refereeing course, but her proposal was rejected because she was too young. The ambitious athlete studied the football rules independently and later signed up for one of their courses.
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Mukansanga started her career officiating women's national second-division and men's local amateur games. She attained the FIFA international classification in 2012 and was a FIFA Women's World Cup representative in 2019. The referee started serving in the CAF (Confederation of African Football) Women's Champions League in 2004.
Mukansanga broke the internet in 2022 when she became the first female official to officiate an AFCON match. In 2023, Mukansanga was awarded the Forbes Women Africa Sports Award, which recognizes individuals below 40 impacting various spheres in Africa.
Salima Mukansanga's World Cup experience
Mukansanga was among three female referees selected to work in the FIFA World Cup 2022 (Qatar) alongside Stephanie Frappart from France and Yoshimi Yamashita from Japan. The 26-member list also had three assistant female referees.
Salima Munkansanga was the first African woman to referee a match at the premier men's competition. In January 2023, FIFA appointed her as one of the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup officials in Australia and New Zealand.
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Mukansanga's achievements have set her as the top female referee in her country and among the best in Africa. She spoke of her experience in the global event, saying,
Officiating at the World Cup is every referee’s dream, especially when you come from a country like mine where women's football is still very low. I feel privileged for the opportunity.
Salima Mukansanga's net worth
Salima Mukansanga's rise to become an international figure has significantly boosted her financial portfolio. According to several online sources, she is worth between $500,000 and $1 million. Football is her primary source of income.
Salima Mukansanga's salary
The Rwandan national started earning back at home when she refereed for various local clubs. Unfortunately, her previous salary is undisclosed. The average salary of a FIFA referee earns a basic pay of about $70,000. According to vimbuzz.com, Salima's annual salary is an estimated $260,000.
Besides her professional career, the female athlete has partnered with several brands. She serves as the MTN Rwanda brand ambassador. The football official was also named the UNICEF Rwanda Champion and has an ongoing partnership with Coca-Cola.
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Salima Mukansanga's cars and houses
Thanks to her successful career, the referee has likely invested in other profitable ventures. Unfortunately, the details of her investments, cars, and houses are not public.
Salima Mukansanga images
Despite her highly private lifestyle, the female referee has active social media platforms with a massive following. Salima Mukansanga's Instagram account has over 23.5k followers (As of January 2024). On X(Twitter), Salima has over 20k followers.
Salima Mukansanga's contact
The Rwandan referee is available on her social media platforms. Unfortunately, her physical address is not public.
Salima Mukansanga has proven her ability over the years, opening opportunities for female footballers globally interested in pursuing the profession. The athlete was one of the BBC 100 Women in December 2022, and fans will watch to see the new territories she will take on as her career progresses.
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