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Bouchra Karboubi makes history as the first Arab woman to referee a match in AFCON 2023

Moroccan referee Bouchra Karboubi achieved a historic milestone by becoming the first Arab woman to officiate a match at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament as the main referee.

Her groundbreaking role took place during the decisive match between Nigeria and Guinea-Bissau at the Stade Félix-Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan on the third and final day of Group A in the 2023 AFCON.

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This achievement reflects the proactive approach of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) in promoting women’s soccer, aligning with the enlightened vision of His Majesty King Mohammed VI.

The notable growth in women’s soccer in Morocco, including recent accomplishments like the U-20 national team’s historic qualification for the 2024 World Cup, underscores the FRMF’s sustained efforts and tangible actions to advance the sport.

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Before officiating the Nigeria-Guinea-Bissau match, Karboubi, a police inspector, had already distinguished herself by overseeing numerous soccer matches at both national and continental levels.

Her notable achievements include being the first Moroccan woman to officiate a Throne Cup final between AS FAR and Moghreb de Tétouan in Agadir in May 2022.

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Additionally, she contributed to the officiating team at the 2023 Women’s World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand from July 20 to August 20.

On January 10 in Dubai, Karboubi was awarded the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Prize for Sports Creativity, in its twelfth edition, as “Best Arab Football Referee”.


Bouchra Karboubi, the Moroccan referee, received the prestigious prize in acknowledgment of her leadership and outstanding performance as a professional referee overseeing international matches in top-level competitions.

The closely contested match between Guinea-Bissau and Nigeria concluded with a narrow victory for the Super Eagles, securing their second-place finish and advancement to the next stage of the competition.

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