By Alexander Johnson Adejoh
The Nigeria Football Federation has strongly demanded that the country’s referees and assistant referees up their game in order to become very relevant and indispensable on the international scene.
This was the central theme of remarks during the badging of Nigeria’s 2022 FIFA referees, assistant referees, beach soccer and Futsal referees at the NFF/FIFA Goal Project inside the package B of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Tuesday.
Member of the NFF Executive Committee and Chairman of the Referees Committee, Alhaji Sharif LMC Rabiu Inuwa set the ball rolling by reminding the auditorium that Nigeria had only one official – an assistant referee – at the ongoing 33rd Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon. ‘That we could only have one assistant referee at the AFCON is a big indictment on all of us.
We are not doing enough as professionals, and we must take this as a big challenge. We are proposing that we have a monitoring team for our referees who officiate internationally so that we can have accurate assessment of how they perform and conduct themselves.’
President of the NRA, Otunba Tade Azeez minced no words in saying that ‘Nigerian referees have failed. The NFF has been doing well to provide all the support that we need, and our FIFA and CAF instructors have also been doing their bit in trying to put us in great physical shape. But we have let them all down and we must turn a new leaf and aim for better performances.’
NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi said: ‘To whom much is given, much is expected. Nigerian refereeing should be at a much higher level by now if the values of discipline, commitment, professionalism and integrity are held sacrosanct. Apart from officiating ability, there are other parameters that assessors look at that you may not be aware of. If you wish to grow, you have to be honest and fair to yourself in all that you do.’
After decorating the referees with their badges, NFF 2nd Vice President/Chairman LMC, Mallam Shehu Dikko charged the referees to develop the mental strength and fortitude to overcome their present challenges and any form of handicap, and commit to greater performances and upholding of the highest professional values at home and internationally.
A total of 30 referees, made up of 11 referees, 11 assistant referees, 4 beach soccer and 4 Futsal referees received their badges at the occasion.
Also at the event were LMC COO, Salihu Abubakar; referee instructors Calistus Chukwudi Chukwujekwu, Dave Egwu and Mohammed Ameenu; NFF Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire and; NFF Chief Technical Officer/former Nigerian international Garba Lawal.
REFEREES: Quadri Adebimpe; Basheer Salihu; Joseph Ogabor; Abdullahi Abubakar; Nurudeen Abubakar; Grema Mohammed; Kassim Abdulsalam; Yemisi Akintoye; Hannah Elaigwu; Patience Madu; Oluwafunmilayo Alaba
ASSISTANT REFEREES: Digbori Tejiri; Efosa Igudia; Peter Ogwu; Samuel Pwadutakan; Usman Isah; Hope Igho; Mimisen Iyorhe; Usman Abdulmajid; Beauty Kabenda Terah; Abibat Yusuf; Mfon Friday Akpan
FUTSAL REFEREES: Musa Dung Davon; Ndubuisi Ukah; Paul Umuago; Alhassan Bello Zuru
BEACH SOCCER REFEREES: Jelili Ogunmuyiwa; Olawale Fawole; Olayinka Olajide; Ahmed Rabiu