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Bernadettar Kwimbira sets another milestone

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Gomezgani Zakazaka

Malawi’s Fifa referee Bernadettar Kwimbira continues to make progress in her career, with yet another milestone going her way at the ongoing 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan.

Kwimbira’s star is set to continue rising today when she will be part of a first-ever African trio to officiate a quarterfinal match at a Women’s Olympic Football tournament.

She will take up the role of first assistant to centre referee Salima Mukansanga of Rwanda while Kenya’s Mary Njoroge will be the second assistant for the second quarterfinal match between Great Britain and Australia.

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Brazilian Alves Edina is the match’s fourth official.

This will be the trio’s third assignment at the global showpiece.

Their first match of the tournament was between Great Britain and Chile on July 21 and a group F encounter between Netherlands and China on Tuesday.

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Kwimbira is no stranger to setting milestones as, in January this year, she became the first woman to officiate a match at a Confederation of African Football men’s senior national teams’ final tournament.

The Malawian defied the odds to join male referees in officiating an African Nations Championship match between Guinea and Namibia.

She achieved another milestone at the same tournament when she was part of the first-ever all-female officiating panel to take charge of a Caf senior men’s national team tournament.

Kwimbira achieved the feat alongside Nigerian Mimisen Lyorhe and centre referee Lyda Tafesse Adebelem of Ethiopia during a Group D encounter between Namibia and Tanzania.

National Referees Association General Secretary Chris Kalichero said they were proud of Kwimbira.

“This is great news, not just to the sports fraternity, but to the whole nation. We, as a country, must make news for the right reasons and Bernadettar is making us proud. We wish her all the success in her career,” Kalichero said.

Football Association of Malawi Competitions and Communications Director Gomezgani Zakazaka hailed Kwimbira for putting Malawi on the map.

“She is a shining star for Malawi. She has continuously put Malawi on the map. Remember, she was also among the first-ever group of females to officiate an Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier in November 2019 alongside Ishmael Chizinga in the match between Libya and Tanzania. We wish her all the best,” Zakazaka said.

The multi-award winning Kwimbira’s enviable record includes officiating at the 2015 and 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cups, the 2016 Olympic Games, the Women’s Senior Afcon, the Women’s Under-20 World Cup and the Youth Olympic Games.

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