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Nigerian referees hailed in London

08 December 2014, 13:00Israel Ojoko

London - Chairman of the Referees Committee of Nigeria Football Federation, Yusuf Ahmed Fresh has praised the general attitude and commitment of Nigeria’s elite referees who are presently on a two –week capacity enhancing programme in the United Kingdom.

Fresh, also a Member of the NFF Executive Committee, is the leader of delegation at the programme.

“I am enamored by the spirit that the referees have brought to this programme. They have shown total dedication and I am very proud to be leading this group of worthy ambassadors,” Fresh said on telephone from London.

The contingent, also including the President of Nigeria Referees Association, Ahmed Maude, arrived in London on Wednesday evening after flying from Lagos.

Also read: FIFA lectures Nigerian refs

On Thursday, the 11 referees had their first training session at Wembley Stadium, where Ian Blanchard, head of refereeing at The Football Association, lectured them for three hours on structure of refereeing, laws of the game and players/coaches/referees’ relationship.

On Friday, the referees were at Southampton’s St. Mary’s ground to watch a match between the U-18 teams of Southampton and West Brom, after which they were engaged in a two-hour question-and-answer session with Albert, head of refereeing at Southampton.

On Saturday, Nigeria’s leading arbiters were at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester to watch the English Premiership match between Manchester City and Everton, which City won 1-0. They wrote a report of the refereeing aspect immediately after the match.

The referees will this week embark on a tour of Arsenal FC’s Emirates Stadium, be involved in analyzing weekend Premier League matches, visit The FA’s High Performance training facility at St. George’s Park and be at a referees’ training organisation’s ground to give talk on fitness and conditioning.

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