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Bouchra Karboubi: Meet the female referee to officiate Nigeria vs Cameroon

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One day, when Bouchra Karboubi was 14, her brothers tore up her linesman’s flag. They did not want their sister to bring “hchouma” – or “shame” – on the family. About 23 years later, Karboubi is one of Morocco’s most famous women – at least for anyone who has a passing interest in football. The 36-year-old is one of five female officials at the 34th edition of the men’s Africa Cup of Nations.

“This assignment is a dream come true for me. When I started refereeing many years ago, I never dreamed this would happen. But I worked hard for it. And today I’m standing here. It’s simply wonderful.”

Karboubi grew up with her four brothers in Taza, a large, conservative city in northeastern Morocco, where at the time it was generally considered shameful for a girl to wear shorts and stand on the same pitch with men. That’s why her brothers were dead set against their sister’s passion for football. They also objected when Bouchra showed an interest in the refereeing school that had just opened in Taza in 2001.

“But I said to myself: I love football – why shouldn’t I give it a try? Even against my brothers’ wishes,” she says.

This was followed by the torn-flag incident. After that happened, she simply grabbed a needle and thread and stitched the flag back up – before running the line in her next match. Bouchra was on her way, and even then, it seemed that her career as an official was pretty much unstoppable.

In 2007, she went to Meknes, a north-central Moroccan city, to study business administration. By then, parallel to her studies, Karboubi was already refereeing first and second division matches in the country’s women’s league. In 2014, she passed the fitness test required by the Royal Moroccan Football Federation to referee men’s matches. She began by officiating lower-level men’s games, before going on to be nominated for international matches on the African continent in 2016.

Karboubi gained her first major international experience by refereeing a match at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana in 2018. Two years later, Krarboubi, who by then had joined the police force, was allowed to referee a match between Maghreb de Tetouan and Olympique de Kourighba, her first in the top Moroccan men’s league.

Two years later, she became the first woman to referee the Moroccan men’s cup final. The 3-0 victory of Al Fars over Atletico de Tetouan was almost an aside in the media reports about the game, with all of the focus on this breakthrough by a female referee in men’s football.

Since then, Karboubi has been seen as something of a symbol for the progress of women’s rights in the Arab world.

She is the only female referee at 2023 men’s African Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast. However, she is joined by four assistant referees: Salima Mukansanga of Rwanda, South Africa’s Akhona Makalima, Bivet Maria Cinquela of Mauritius and Diana Chikotesha of Zambia.

 

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Iheanacho, Ndidi face promotion setback after Leicester defeat

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Iheanacho, Ndidi face promotion setback after Leicester defeat

With a 1-0 loss to Plymouth on Friday, Nigerian stars Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfried Ndidi’s Leicester team’s attempt to return automatically to the Premier League took another hit.

Mustapha Bundu’s fine finish earned Argyle their first home win since January to move five points clear of the relegation zone at the other end of the table.

Leicester seemed destined to bounce straight back from their shock relegation last season after winning 13 of their first 14 league games this season.

But the Foxes are unravelling at the business end of the campaign.

Enzo Maresca’s men also lost 1-0 to relegation-threatened Millwall in midweek and have won just two of their last six games.

Leicester remain on top of the table but are ahead of Ipswich only on goal difference and one point ahead of third-placed Leeds.

The 2016 Premier League winners could find themselves out of the automatic promotion places by Saturday should Leeds and Ipswich avoid defeat at home to Blackburn and Middlesbrough respectively.

By contrast, Plymouth are now unbeaten in three games under interim boss Neil Dewsnip to pull clear of the bottom three.

Victory hauls the Pilgrims up to 16th.

 

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Harry Kane’s 3 children involved in Munich car accident

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Three of Bayern Munich striker Harry Kane’s children were “lightly injured” in a car accident outside Munich, a fire brigade spokesman said

Three of Bayern Munich striker Harry Kane’s children were “lightly injured” in a car accident outside Munich, a fire brigade spokesman said on Friday, confirming German media reports.

The accident took place on Monday when the England captain was in London ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Arsenal.

The spokesman for Hohenschaeftlarn fire brigade would not provide the identities of those injured in the crash but confirmed a Bild daily report was accurate.

“No one was seriously injured,” the spokesman told AFP, explaining “the accident looked much worse than what it actually was.”

Bild had published images of an accident between three cars, including a van carrying three of Kane’s four children and the striker’s bodyguard.

Eight people were taken to hospital for routine checks, the spokesman said.

AFP

 

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NFF appoints Manu Garba as Golden Eaglets’ Head Coach

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NFF appoints Manu Garba as Golden Eaglets’ Head Coach

The Board of Nigeria Football Federation has appointed former U17 World Cup winner Manu Garba as Head Coach of the Nigeria U17 boys, Golden Eaglets.

 

Garba had, in the same role, led the Golden Eaglets to win the FIFA U17 World Cup for Nigeria in the United Arab Emirates in 2013 – Nigeria’s fourth triumph at that stage.

 

Garba’s world-conquering squad in 2013 included Kelechi Iheanacho, Taiwo Awoniyi, Isaac Success, Musa Mohammed, Chidiebere Nwakali and goalkeeper Dele Alampasu.

 

The squad, which finished as runners-up at the African U17 Championship in Morocco after a penalty shootout defeat by Cote d’Ivoire, defeated Mexico 6-1 in their opening game, drew 3-3 with Sweden and hammered Iraq 5-0. In the Round of 16, they ran Iran ragged 4-1, dispatched Uruguay 2-0 in the quarter-finals and trounced Sweden 3-0 in the semi-finals, before they dislodged Mexico by the same margin in the final to lift the trophy.

 

The former Nigeria international will now immediately resume the role and take charge of the team’s preparations for next month’s WAFU B U17 Championship, taking place in Ghana.

 

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ECL: Aston Villa 2-1 Lille: Emery’s side takes slim lead against Ligue 1 side

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Aston Villa will take a narrow 2-1 lead back to Lille following the first leg of their Europa Conference League quarter-final at Villa Park.

Aston Villa will take a narrow 2-1 lead back to Lille following the first leg of their Europa Conference League quarter-final at Villa Park.

Ollie Watkins headed Villa in front from John McGinn’s corner early on and McGinn’s deflected shot early in the second half doubled the advantage for Unai Emery’s side on the occasion of his 1000th game in management.

But Lille, who squandered a number of good opportunities in the first half and saw Gabriel Gudmundsson’s goal ruled out for offside following a VAR check in the second, finally had their reward late in the game through Bafode Diakite’s header.

It made for muted celebrations at the final whistle, an awareness that this tie is in the balance. There is work to do in France.

 

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Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 West Ham: Alonso’s subs seal late win in Europa League QF leg 1

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Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 West Ham: Alonso's subs seal late win in Europa League QF leg 1

Jonas Hofmann and Victor Boniface came off the bench to unlock West Ham and earn Bayer Leverkusen a late 2-0 victory in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final.

Leverkusen extended their unbeaten run to 42 matches this season and will take a deserved lead to the London Stadium in a week, but they had to be patient to break down David Moyes’ stubborn Hammers.

West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski made several superb saves to keep the scores level, denying Patrik Schick with two wonderful stops in either half, while Mohammed Kudus wasted a big chance early on for the visitors.

Leverkusen dominated possession throughout yet could not find a way through until Xabi Alonso made changes. Hofmann struck first seven minutes from time, volleying home from inside the box before Boniface added a crucial second with an injury-time header to leave West Ham with a mountain to climb.

 

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Europa: Atalanta stun Liverpool 3-0 at Anfield

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Europa: Atalanta stun Liverpool 3-0 at Anfield

Atalanta stunned Anfield as Gianluca Scamacca scored twice in a 3-0 win on Thursday to leave Liverpool with a mountain to climb to reach the Europa League semi-finals.

Mario Pasalic added a third seven minutes from time to condemn Liverpool to a first home defeat in all competitions for 14 months.

 

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