FIFA left out Nigerian referees from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, has defended the non-selection of any Nigerian referee by the world football governing body, FIFA, for Brazil 2014 World Cup.
Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES in Abuja, the General Secretary of the NFF, Musa Amadu, said Nigeria was not totally ignored in the officiating of the tournament since one was chosen to be an assistant referee.
“Peter Edibe is an assistant referee and he is going to be at the World Cup,” he said. “It is not only Nigeria that has referees, there are other African countries that have referees and the fact that a referee has been selected, (for the post of Assistant Referee) Peter Edibe is a plus for Nigeria”
Mr. Amadu also said the level of officiating by Nigerian referees has improved.
“Our referees are getting better by the day; we are training and retraining them every year. Younger ones are also coming up, it is a long process, it takes time and both women and men are being trained,” he said.
The chairman of the Nigerian Referees Association, NRA, Suleiman Maude, however disagreed with Mr. Amadu.
Mr. Maude said it is unfortunate that FIFA decided to leave Jelili Ogunmuyiwa, an experienced referee, out of the tournament.
In a statement, FIFA had said they chose the referees based on their standing of the game.
“The referees selected … have been chosen based especially on their personality and their quality in football understanding by being able to read the game and the teams’ tactical approaches towards each game,” the football body said.
But Mr. Maude, who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES, said the body must have had another reason for ignoring Nigerian referees.
“It is very unfortunate; I don’t think that is right. That is wrong because Jelili Ogunmuyiwa, a FIFA badged referee, has officiated in four Nations Cup. He was at the world club side, he has officiated at CHAN. They must have their own reasons differently from that (statement) I believe.
“You see, they listed all the referees two years ago and they all attended seminars and Jelili was a part of it until now and Jelili is a part of their plans, there must be another thing,” he said.
FIFA shortlisted six centre referees and eight assistant referees from Africa to join their counterparts from other parts of the world for the World Cup.