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Cynthia Ishimwe Becomes First Woman To Officiate In Beach Soccer AFCON

Cynthia Ishimwe made history in the ongoing Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations by becoming the first ever woman to officiate a match of the tournament.

The Burundian was the centre referee on Monday as Senegal took on Madagascar at the Vilankulo Sports Complex, Mozambique.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) was impressed by her feat, using its official portal to acknowledge her.

“We are all proud of what Cynthia has achieved. It is a massive step in the right direction. This is a significant moment because it not only opens doors for other women match officials in Beach Soccer in Africa, it sets the trend globally,” said CAF Head of Refereeing and Football Technology Noumandiez Doue.

“But this moment is not achieved by luck; there has been a lot of work that has been happening behind the scenes to prepare match officials in Africa. The workshops, the training camps and the mentorship programme has ensured that quality rises to the top.

“We are now seeing the positive trajectory and emergence of quality young referees and quality women match officials. This is thanks to the investment of CAF and also FIFA in improving the standards.”

On her part, Ishimwe acknowledged the efforts made by the African football governing body through its programmes  that have prepared her for such moment.

“When I found out that I was going to officiate at the Beach Soccer AFCON, I couldn’t hide my excitement. It is a great privilege to be chosen for the finals of an Africa Cup of Nations and this adventure has been nothing else than enriching,” she said.

“Moreover, I am surrounded by experienced referees who do not hesitate to share their knowledge. They push me to improve myself and give the best of me. I feel totally integrated and the atmosphere is very good within the group.”

The 2022 Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations enters its semi-finals on Wednesday where Senegal will face Mozambique while Morocco lock horns with Egypt to confirm the two  finalists and above all the two African representatives in the Beach Soccer World Cup next year.

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