Kenyan referee Mary Njoroge set for 2023 Women’s World Cup

Kenyan referee Mary Njoroge set for 2023 Women’s World Cup
Credit: Football Federation Kenya

Kenya's decorated female referee Mary Njoroge can't wait to take up her role in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. It will be her first trip Down Under and most importantly, another major assignment in the football world.

Thus, while Kenya's Harambee Starlets will not feature in the Women's tournament, back at home, Kenyans will watch keenly as Mary Njoroge takes up her crucial refereeing role in the football spectacle.

Mary Njoroge is among a contingent of African referees who will officiate in the big event. It was all excitement when the FKF assistant referee was named among the officials take part in the event.

“I am excited about the assignment. It has been four years of intense preparation and I am glad the time has come to do what I love the most,” Njoroge was quoted by the Kenyan media in a recent interview.

In addition, her coach Edward Lumbugu says that Njoroge's progress to the top of women's football has been marked by hard work, focus and discipline.

Njoroge flagged off by Australian High Commission to Kenya

While flagging off Mary Njoroge to the assignment, Australia's Deputy High Commission to Kenya, Linda Gellard, lauded the 38-year-old female referee for her breakthrough in the male-dominated sport.

Gellard added that Njoroge will be a great ambassador to Kenya, adding that she is an independent, strong and impressive person who is an inspiration to young women out there.

The Australian High Commissioner to Kenya did not hide excitement about the upcoming event, indicating that it was the first time the Southern Hemisphere is hosting the event. While adding that she is confident Austrial can bring the trophy home, Gellard said that her country has a lot in store to show the world.

A valuable addition to Mary Njoroge's refereeing honours

It is not the first time that Mary Njoroge is taking up the assignment as an assistant referee in a major football tournament.

Two years ago, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) acknowledged her efforts as among the women making great strides in the male-dominated sport. FKK listed her achievements as follows:

In 2018, Mary Njoroge was an assistant match official in FIFA-20 Women's World Cup.

A year later, she took up the same role in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France. She made history as the first Kenyan to do so. This year's assignment in Australia adds to her fast-rising star in the football world.

Being the trailblazer she is, it is noteworthy that several other Africans will be match officials in the 2023 Women's tournament in Australia, among the Rwandan female referee, Saliman Mukansanga.

Eleven referees from Africa head to the Women's World Cup

When FIFA announced there will be a total of 107 referees in the 2023 Women's World Cup, in Africa, it emerged that there will be a total of 11 match officials from Africa. Mary Njoroge is the only Kenyan on the list. Here is a tweet from FIFA earlier this year with a breakdown of the numbers:

She will be among the 55 assistant referees to officiate in the big event. Njoroge is expected to further redeem Kenya's image in the beautiful game. In 2018, Kenyan referee Aden Marwa's dreams of officiating in the men's world cup ended following bribery allegations. A year later, Mary Njoroge took up the role of an assistant referee in the France Women's World Cup.

Moreover, there will be a total of centre 33 referees and 19 video assistant referees in the women's World Cup which kicks off on 20th July 2023.

On the African front, Morocco leads the pack with a total of four referees set for Australia/New Zealand. The Moroccan contingent constitutes three female referees and one male referee.

This article was most recently revised and updated 9 months ago

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