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For the first time in the history of continental football, women referees will handle games of the opposite sex following a directive from the Confederation of African Football (Caf).

The women will debut at the upcoming Africa Under-17 Cup of Nations scheduled for Tanzania next month.

The development was reached at during the Caf Referees committee held on February 26 in Cairo, Egypt with Caf president Ahmad Ahmad in attendance.

“The historic decision is a testament to Caf’s commitment to developing the women’s football,” Caf statement read.

“It will also give women match officials a bigger platform to expose their talents and also gain experience at the competitive level considering the limited matches and competitions, which often affects their progress and development.”

Kenyan referee Mary Wanjiru Njoroge – who came second in the most improved assistant referee category at last season’s gala awards, is among 14 assistant referees shortlisted for the assignment.

Others are Jonesia Rukyaa Kabakama from Tanzania and Lidwine Rakotozafinoro (Madagascar) among other 29 selected to undergo a training course in Rabat, Morocco from March 31 to April 4, to fine-tune for the tournament.

Fifteen referees and 14 assistant referees from 25 Member Associations will undergo medical, physical and theoretical test to select the conclusive list of match officials for the final tournament scheduled for 14-28 April 2019 in Tanzania.

Hosts Tanzania, Nigeria, Angola and Uganda were pooled in in Group A, while Guinea, Cameroon, Morocco and Senegal compose Group B.

The semi-finalists will qualify to represent the continent at the Fifa U-17 World Cup that was initially scheduled for Peru, before the world football governing body stripped them off the rights.

A new host will be named on Friday.

SOURCE DAILY NATION

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