By Angu Lesley
Celebrated Cameroonian FIFA certified Referee Diangha Maria Goretti Nain will become the first woman to be Referee of a men’s top-flight match in Cameroon since the creation of a professional league management body in the Central African Nation 11 years ago.
Already an imposing figure in the women’s game, lady Diangha made her top-flight debut first as fourth official last Sunday in UMS’ 1-0 win against YAFOOT but history is planned for Wednesday.
March 23, 2022 in Limbe will go down as a historic day in Cameroon football as lady Diangha will lead a team of match officials including Nkem Vincent, Ma’azou Mamadou and Ngah Willy as fourth official when Dragon lock horns UMS in Match-Day Two of the Elite One championship.
It is going to be an unprecedented event as never before has there been a woman as referee in the center of the field for a top-flight game in Cameroon’s over 50 years of first division football.
“It’s amazing, during our era as referees, the physical efforts required during the test made it nearly impossible for a lady to come close to this. This looks so unreal but it is a great move from the referee management institution manned by Evehe Divine in collaboration Mouandjo Kalla and Menkouande Evariste,” retired referee and FECAFOOT Referees inspector Egbe Bonn told kick442.com.
Having seen it all as a top-flight referee in an eleven-year top-flight career between 1990-2001, Mr Bonn only had words of encouragement for lady Goretti going into the historic game.
“This is a prove that she doing well. I will encourage her to do her best to ensure continuous progress.
This year Atezambong Carine made the women dream by being at the AFCON. Goretti should keep working to enhance our chances of having two Cameroonian ladies as referees at the next AFCON (June 2023 in Ivory Coast).”
Promoted to the class of Elite referees in Cameroon less than six years ago, her results in the women’s game in most of her FECAFOOT assignments quickly earned Goretti the prestigious FIFA badge in 2018, she hasn’t looked back since then.
Though having another commitment as a teacher, last Goretti has always delivered whenever she is assigned in domestic competitions putting up some very outstanding performances.
Last year lady Goretti was one of the few referees from Central Africa to be selected to officiate in the maiden edition of the TotalEnergies Women’s CAF Champions League. As if that was not enough CAF recently picked her on a couple of occasions to handle AWCON 2022 qualifiers matches while she continue to get greater responsibilities back in the country.
“The new FECAFOOT under Samuel Eto’o has brought a lot of innovations. Young girls in refereeing like Tambe Brenda who recently earned promotion to the top-flight should work hard and set the goals of growing like Carine, Goretti, Mbakop and the rest,” Mr Bonn concluded.
Goretti’s emergence is not surprising as Cameroon is noted for it’s production of efficient referees. In 2019 the country provided three Referees for the AFCON final Viz; Alioum Sidi, Noupoue Elvis and Menkouande Evariste. All three were decorated best referees after the 2019 AFCON final in Egypt. In the follow up edition on home soil another trio of Ngwa Blaise, Noupoue Elvis Atezambong Carine were at the AFCON finals.
These days Cameroon can boast of seven men’s FIFA referees in a bunch led by injured Alioum Sidi, Ngwa Blaise, Mbelle Mbelle, Bito Jeanot, Effa Essoumba, Nkamba Drid and recently promoted Abdel Mefire.
In the Women’s category, Ngo Biem Marie Josephine, Guimbang A Etong Aline Alice Marie Noelle, Kenne Kouessio constitute the list of Women’s FIFA Referee in Cameroon alongside four assistants and Ndianga Maria Goretti Nain as only female referee in the men’s top-flight game.
Amongst the distinguish shortlist of four FIFA Women assistant referees Cameroon can boast of is Atezambong Carine who alongside Referee Salima Mukansanga from Rwanda plus Moroccan duo Fatiha Jermoumi and Bouchra Karboubi (Video Assistant Referee) made news for being part of the refereeing squad for AFCON 2021.
Impact of Goretti’s feat
The involvement of lady Goretti in her 30s in the men’s top-flight championship at a time Cameroon’s football’s visibility is increasing meets global trend and makes her a mentor forever. In a recent times, France’s Stephanie Frappart and Ukraine’s Kateryna Monzul have also had responsibilities in the men’s game. Last year they became the first women to referee FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Germany’s Bibiana Steinhaus became the first woman to referee a men’s game in Europe’s top five league’s in September 2020 when she appeared in a German Bundesliga.
However, in Cameroon just like the other football ecosystems, there is a notable contrast as men are not involved in officiating women’s League matches.
All rights reserved. This material and any other digital content on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written, or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from our management.
This site is not responsible for the content displayed by external sites