The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has charged the country’s referees and assistant referees to up their game in order to be 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.
Member of the NFF Executive Committee and Chairman of the Referees Committee, Sharif 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 an accurate assessment of how they perform and conduct themselves,” Inuwa said.
President of the NRA, Tade Azeez minced no words in saying : “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, Mohammed Sanusi tasked the officials to raise their game by displaying professionalism and commitment to the sport.
30 referees made up of 11 referees, 11 assistant referees, four beach soccer and four Futsal referees received their badges at the occasion.