Malawi’s Fifa referee Bernadetter Kwimbira -Nzika has cherished her iconic experience as one of the first ever all-female officiating panel in a CAF senior national teams match.
Kwimbiri-Nzika set yet another milestone in her refereeing career on Saturday as assistant referee alongside Nigerian Mimisen Lyorhe and Ethiopian centre referee Lyda Tafesse Adebele in a Group D match between Namibia and Tanzania at Limbe Omnisports Stadium in Cameroon.
All eyes were on the set of three female referees as history was made but the Zomba-based Fifa referee said she was under no pressure and described her experience as one of the best in her career.
Sprinting down the touchline in the pulsating match which ended 1-0 in favour of the East Africans, Kwimbira-Nzika exuded confidence and maturity.
“It was just okay. I was not under pressure. This was my second game at the tournament and I just told myself to treat the match as one of the many I have officiated,” she said.
Kwimbira-Nzika also becomes the first Malawian female referee to officiate at CAF’s senior tournament after joining male referees in the match between Guinea and Namibia in her first assignment at the tournament.
CAF picks referees for the tournament based on previous matches’ performance and Kwimbira-Nzika was optimistic that she will be given more assignments at the tournament.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) competitions and communications director Gomezgani Zakazaka hailed Kwimbira-Nzika for her achievements.
“She is a shining star for Malawi. She has continuously put Malawi on the map. Remember she was also the first ever female to officiate an African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier in November 2019 alongside Ishmael Chizinga in the match between Libya and Tanzania.
“But this is the first ever that a team of all female referees has officiated at a CAF seniors tournament. We wish her all the best,” he said.
Multi-award winning Kwimbira-Nzika has an enviable record, having officiated at Fifa Women’s World Cup, Afcon Under-20 and Youth Olympic Games.