Nabadda makes strong Wafcon refereeing debut

Referee Shamirah Nabadda

What you need to know:

  • The Ugandan referee, known for her quickness to draw the line between her and resenting players or officials, sent out an early warning about her decisiveness by awarding Zambia a penalty in the opening minute when Siomala Mapepa was brought down in the box by Togolese keeper Ame Amouklou

Shamira Nabadda had to wait until the last round of group stage matches to have a run out at the ongoing Women Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) in Morocco.

The Ugandan referee, known for her quickness to draw the line between her and resenting players or officials, sent out an early warning about her decisiveness by awarding Zambia a penalty in the opening minute when Siomala Mapepa was brought down in the box by Togolese keeper Ame Amouklou

Lushomo Mweemba failed to convert but the Copper Queens went on to win 4-1 at Stade Moulay Hassan in Rabat to top Group B ahead of Cameroon and Tunisia, who also advanced to the quarters after a 2-0 win for the Indomitable Lionesses at Stade Mohammed V in Casablanca.

Nabadda was again called into action when the video assistant referee (var) urged her to review a red card incident after Togo midfielder Talya Gace appeared to stamp Evarine Katongo’s foot but the Ugandan referee opted for a yellow card as she saw no deliberate intention to harm.

It was a run against the norm as the referees in previous matches at this tournament had mostly sided with var.

Through the ranks

Nabadda has grown through the ranks – from officiating at schools competitions to being handed some of the country’s decisive matches – over the years.

Before Saturday, her last top assignment came at the Cecafa region Caf Women’s Champions League, where she handled the semifinals between Kenya’s Vihiga Queens and Tanzania’s Simba Queens.

In a 2018 interview with The Observer, Nabadda said she derives her passion from being involved in the beautiful game since her days as a player at Masaka SS between 2012 and 2015, when she played left-back for Western United in the inaugural Fufa Women Elite League.

The country takes pride in seeing that the players who started that inaugural women’s league like; Nabadda’s then teammate Riticia Nabbosa and some of their rivals in the league then like Sandra Nabweteme, Yudaya Nakayenze, Ruth Aturo and Hasifah Nassuna qualified for Wafcon as players.

So Nabadda, who made the switch to take charge of the action from the centre in 2016, has done well for herself to ‘qualify’ as a referee and will hope for more games in the knockout stages.

Her mentor, the late Abbas Ssenyondwa should be smiling for her from above the skies as Nabadda has now stepped into the shoes of Catherine Adipo (2000 and 2002) and Aisha Ssemabo (2014), both of whom have officiated at this tournament before.

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