By Oviri Kelvin
The Chairman, Referees Committee, and member of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Executive Committee, Alhaji Sharif LMC Rabiu Inuwa, has expressed his displeasure over the poor ratings of the Nigeria referees by international football bodies.
Inuwa stated this on Tuesday during the badging of Nigeria’s 2022 FIFA referees, assistant referees, beach soccer referees, and Futsal referees at the NFF/FIFA Goal Project held at the package B of the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja.
According to him, Nigeria only got one of its referees to officiate as an assistant referee at the 33rd Africa Cup of Nations(AFCON) taking place in Cameroon. Which is a clear indication of the poor performance of Nigerian referees.
Inuwa said that the Nigerian referees need to up their performances to meet up with the ever-increasing standard in the profession, he opined that a monitoring team should be set up to assess the conduct of those who officiate in international games.
In a statement made available to newsmen, Inuwa said, “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,” he added.
Meanwhile, the NFF Secretary-General, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, implored the newly decorated referees to be well-disciplined, professional, and honest in their conduct, in and out of the pitch, noting that these assessors put other parameters into consideration that they would not be aware of.
He advised that if they desire to grow professionally, they must be just, fair and honest in their dealings.
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 are assessed, which you may not be aware of.
“If you wish to grow, you have to be honest and fair in all that you do,” he added.
Exonerating the NFF from blames, the President of, the Nigeria Football Referees Association (NRA), Otunba Tade Azeez, lashed at the Nigerian referees stating that the NFF has overtime provided the needed support with instructors from the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and Confederation and African Football (CAF) also playing important roles to help develop Nigerian referees.
Furthermore, he admonished the Nigerian referees to change their conduct to achieve better performances onwards.
The newly badged Nigerian referees were charged by NFF Second Vice President/Chairman League Management Company (LMC), Mallam Shehu Dikk, to exhibit mental strength and fortitude to surpass present-day challenges while displaying exceptional performances in both national and international duties.