Malawian celebrated FIFA Female Assistant Referee Bernadettar Kwimbira has been nominated for the 2021 International Federation of Football History Statistics (IFFHS) awards.
Kwimbira is among the 16 female referees who have been nominated for the World Best Women Referee category.
She is one of the only two African female referees on the list alongside Rwandan Salima Mukansanga on the list.
Reacting to her nomination, Kwimbira attributed her nomination to her outstanding performance in the three international tournaments that she has officiated this year.
“This can only be God and I thank the Almighty for making it possible for me to be among the nominated 16 female referees. It’s a great honor for me to be nominated for the 2021 IFFHS World best female referee category.
“We are going through a very difficult time with the Covid pandemic, there was a time when no football was happening throughout the World. As referees we were not active but I think I have been nominated based on my performance in the three tournaments that I have had this year, the 2020 Chan, 2020 Tokyo Olympic, as well as the CAF Women’s Champions League tournament that I am currently one of the officiating personnel.
“For me, whether I take this award home or note, I take myself and the other 15 nominated referees as winners already,” said Kwimbira.
Kwimbira, who is currently in Egypt for the inaugural TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Champions League, is Malawi’s most decorated FIFA Referee having officiated at two Olympic Tournaments, two FIFA Women’s World Cups and five Women’s Africa Cup of Nations Finals.
The Zomba-based referee was also part of the first ever all-women refereeing team to officiate a match at a CAF Senior Men’s final tournament when she alongside Nigeria’s Mimisen Lyorhe and Ethiopian referee Ldya Tafesse Adebele took charge of a 2020 CHAN Group D match between Namibia and Tanzania earlier this year.
She has for three consecutive years (2017-2019) won the best referee of the year at the Malawi Sport Awards organized by the Malawi National Council of Sports. In 2017 she was voted Malawi’s Sports Personality of the year.
Kwimbira is also earmarked for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup finals to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
French female referee Stephanie Frappart is the current holder of the award .
Below is the list of nominees for the 2021 IFFHS Women’s World Best Referee
Anastasia PUSTOVOITOVA (Russia)
Stephanie FRAPPART (France)
Esther STAUBLI (Switzerland)
Kateryna MONZUL (Ukraine)
Shona SHUKRULA (Netherlands)
Edina ALVES BATISTA (Brazil)
Mariana de ALMEIDA (Argentina)
Valeria PALMA (Chile)
Karen DIAZ MEDINA (Mexico)
Kathryn NESBITT (USA)
Melissa BORGES (Honduras)
Salima MUKANSANGA (Rwanda)
Bernadette KWIMBIRA (Malawi)
Nazemideylami GELAREH (Iran)
Kate JACEWICZ (Australia)
Yoshimi YAMASHITA (Japan)