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FIFA seeks to have Nigerian referees in all its competitions

22 November 2013, 10:58

Abuja - Felix Tangawarima, a FIFA Referees’ Instructor, on Thursday said the world football governing body wanted to have Nigerian referees officiating in all its competitions.

Tangawarima said this in Abuja at the formal opening ceremony of the 2013 FIFA Member Association Course for Elite Referees, Technical Instructors, Referee Assessors and Physical Fitness Instructors.

The referees’ instructor, who spoke on behalf of the course’s three instructors, said FIFA’s desire was because Nigeria is a force to be reckoned with in African football.

"As far as Africa is concerned, there is no way football will be mentioned and reference will not be made to Nigeria.

"In addition to this, most of the FIFA-organised competitions have Nigerian national teams participating.

"But we (FIFA) think participating alone is not enough. With this kind of course and some other ones held in the past, we hope to see Nigerian referees in every FIFA-organised tournament," Tangawarima said.

He however commended the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) for requesting for the course to be held, saying it was a step in the right direction.

"As much as the NFA is striving to develop Nigerian football, we are happy that our department is not left behind in the development process.

"We commend the football house because its dedication is now yielding result, with Peter Edibe to represent Nigeria at the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco next month.

"This means that we are moving in the right direction in the development of football in Nigeria and Africa at large," Tangawarima said.

He said the course participants had improved in comparison to when the course was held in October 2012.

"I am very pleased to discover that the participants have improved on what they were taught last year, and this is to tell us that we are progressing.

"And due to the fact that development is a process, we hope this will continue because we want to record more success," the retired Zimbabwean referee said.

In his remarks, the NFA Chairman, Aminu Maigari, who was represented by the association’s General Secretary, Musa Amadu, commended FIFA for intensifying efforts in terms of referees’ development in Nigeria.

"We want to commend FIFA for its intensified efforts in terms of improving Nigerian referees in the last five years and also accepting our request to train assessors, a move which provides professional support.

"This is because it is only Nigeria that was approved to hold the course for six days as against the normal five or four days given to other countries and we are grateful for the gesture,’’ Maigari said.

He however promised that the NFA would ensure that Nigeria have a pool of referees FIFA would be well proud of before the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

"I believe with this kind of course and some other ones that we have held, by 2018, we will have a pool of referees.

"So that FIFA can select a trio of referees from them for the 2018 World Cup in Russia,’’ Maigari said.

Linus Mba, the course co-ordinator, expressed his satisfaction with the fact that the Nigerian refereeing family had never had it as good as it is now.

"We have never had it as good as it is for us now, and it is as a result of the support we get from FIFA through the NFA and we wish to continue in this vein.

"Also, we have been able to record this success because of our referees’ determination to be improved and we are glad that NFA’s investment in refereeing has not been in vain,’’ Mba said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the six-day programme started on Monday, November 18 and will end on Saturday, November 23.

The course had 43 assessors, 19 physical fitness instructors, 32 elite referees and eight technical instructors as participants.

-  NAN

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