Trailblazing African referee faces chants of 'prostitute' from fans

Maya Yoshida, Salima Mukansanga, Victor Gomes, Sergio Busquets
Maya Yoshida, Salima Mukansanga, Victor Gomes, Sergio Busquets

One of the first-ever female referees to officiate at a men's FIFA World Cup was verbally insulted and physically threatened during a recent match in her home country Rwanda, with some fans also aiming chants of "prostitute" at her.

According to BBC Sport Africa, Salima Mukansanga was subjected to some extreme abuse when she took charge of a Rwandan top-flight match between Kiyovu Sport and Gasogi United on Friday.

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With the game having finished 0-0, the match report showed that she had been insulted, a Rwanda Football Federation (RFF) spokesperson confirmed.

The RFF is now investigating the matter and has promised that its disciplinary committee will take serious measures against the harassment and attempted assault of her by match-goers after the probe is concluded.

It is said a group of Kiyovu supporters made the abhorrent chants of "prostitute" towards Mukansanga, and that security had to intervene to stop some of them from physically assaulting her. 

In an open letter, Kiyovu Sport fans president Hemedi Minani condemned the harassment of and insults against the referee, and issued an apology.

At the recent World Cup in Qatar, Mukansanga was among the first three female match officials, alongside Japan's Yoshimi Yamashita and France's Stephanie Frappart, to officiate at a men's edition of the showpiece.

Earlier last year, she also made history by becoming the first woman to spearhead a men's Africa Cup of Nations game, when she officiated a group match between Zimbabwe and Guinea on 18 January 2022.

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According to CAF, the 34-year-old, who is also set to officiate at this year's women's World Cup in New Zealand and Australia, began refereeing at 15 years old and rose through the ranks before being listed as an international referee for FIFA in 2012.

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