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Moroccan referee Bouchra Karboubi expresses honor and pride in representing women in Africa

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Moroccan referee Bouchra Karboubi expressed her pride in officiating a football match at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) held in Cote d’Ivoire.

After brilliantly taking charge of the Nigeria-Guinea Bissau match in the 34th edition of AFCON, Karboubi has become the first Arab African woman to officiate a football match in AFCON.

This achievement places her alongside Rwandan referee Salima Mukansanga, who also made history in the 2021 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations.

In an exclusive interview with the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Karboubi revealed that serving as the central referee in the Nigeria-Guinea Bissau match was “an honor” for her, recalling her previous achievement as the first woman to operate VAR in the final of the last AFCON edition.

Upon hearing her designation for that match, Karboubi recounted that she was overwhelmed with emotions.

“The emotion was enormous. I was happy, I’m not saying there was no stress, but the stress stops as soon as we kick off. So, it was a pride for me to represent African women in general,” she said.

Karboubi revealed that the Nigeria-Guinea Bissau match was “a serious challenge” for her, and her fellow women’s referee trio. They felt the responsibility to showcase their abilities as the first women’s referee team in such a prestigious tournament.

“We had no room for error because we did our best to live up to the trust that CAF placed in us,” emphasized the Moroccan referee.

She, along with female referee colleagues, were happy with their achievement, unveiled Karboubi, especially for “being able to show that we can be there and that we can have the same competitiveness as the men.

The Moroccan referee affirmed that “the CAF Referees Division is doing an excellent job in developing women’s refereeing in Africa.” She said that the opportunity given to her and her colleagues to officiate a football match at the 2023 AFCON “shows the fruit of the work that they are doing.”

In a message to young girls, Karboubi advised them to pursue their passion and goals, work hard, and never give up despite the challenges they may encounter.

“We must not give up. We must continue and with the grace of God, we can get where we want to go,” she concluded.

Karboubi’s achievement demonstrates the proactive policy of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF), which has been strongly involved in the development of women’s football under King Mohammed VI’s enlightened vision.

The remarkable development of women’s football in Morocco, as evidenced by several recent successes, most notably the historic qualification of the U20 national team for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2024, is the result of long-term efforts and concrete actions taken by the FRMF to promote this sport.

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