Lagos - The second batch of Nigerian referees on a capacity building programme in the United Kingdom have returned to the country on Thursday.
The referees completed an eight-day training programme in the United Kingdom and departed Heathrow Airport, London for Lagos on Wednesday night aboard an ARIK Airline flight, arriving Lagos on Thursday morning.
Arriving in London on Monday, 26th January, the delegation rode by bus to Sheffieldshire in the northern part of England and was warmly received by staff of the Champneys Health Resorts.
Made up of 18 referees and the Chairman of NFF Referees Committee Yusuf Ahmed Fresh, who led the team, Chairman of the Nigeria Referees Association Ahmed Maude, Member of the NFF Executive Committee, Ibrahim Gusau and FIFA Technical Advisor (Refereeing) and NFF Consultant on Refereeing, Linus Mba, the contingent members found their home for the duration of the training a very appropriate environment for the programme, away from any kind of distraction.
The facility is used by The FA, from time to time, for their National Teams, visiting international teams as well as some local clubs.
Tunde Adelakun, the Director of CAF Football Hall of Fame, who organized the training programme on behalf of the NFF, disclosed that he assembled some of the best and experienced English Referees’ Instructors, who belong to a consortium of former referees who formed an outfit known as You Are the Ref. International Ltd. with its Head Office in Sheffield.
Among these were Jack Waugh (a Director of the outfit), Roger Dilkes (a former Professional League referee), Keith Hackett (a former General Manager of the Professional League Referees Management Company) and Mark Hasdey (a very experienced English League Referee who spent considerable time in interaction sessions with the Nigerian referees).
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Among the emphasis during the Course were: "Management and recognition of foul challenges; correct match incident analysis; high and medium intensity physical fitness training sessions and; correct match preparations."
Apart from watching some matches on television, such as Chelsea Vs Liverpool, for post-match technical discussions, the Nigerian referees were accorded recognition when they arrived for the second leg of the Capital One Cup competition between Sheffield United and Tottenham Hotspurs, and at the Premier League match between the Stoke City and Queens Park Rangers.
In the classrooms, the referees had sessions on Nutrition as well as a motivational talk by Mark Hasley.
The impression of the Nigerian referees who participated in the eight-day programme is best captured in the communique which they handed over to the accompanying Members of the NFF Referees Committee, which read thus:
"We the Referees wish to appreciate President Amaju M. Pinnick-led Board of the NFF, the NFF Referees Committee and Mr. Tunde Adelakun for the opportunity given to us to participate in this very well-packaged training programme
"We are happy because the rationale behind this is the development and upliftment of refereeing and football in Nigeria.
"The programme has physically and psychologically motivated us by the quality of the training received from top class instructors/assessors from the United Kingdom to fortify our experiences on the modern culture of football refereeing.
"Football refereeing worldwide is now demanding professionalism in approach and we are looking forward that the Nigeria Football Federation would initiate measures that would facilitate, at the earliest possible time, the professionalization of football refereeing in Nigeria.
"Finally, we are soliciting that President Amaju Pinnick-led Board sustains the momentum on the learning programmes because learning is a continuous process, and in so doing our League will continue to improve."
The referees who made the trip: Abosede Momoh; Uloma Nneka Nwogu; Hadiza Musa; Paul Umuago; Jelili Ogunmuyiwa; Ibrahim Umar Fagge; Jeremiah Akure; Francis Agbaegbu; Mohammed Ahmed Rufai; Ishiaku Ibrahim; Iheanacho Chukwuemeka; Dele Atoun; Obieze Okiridu; Sunny Atu; Sani Mohammed; Jibrin Isah and; Mohammed Aliyu Jibgi.For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.