FIFA Referees Development Officer, Carlos Manuel Neves Henriques has challenged Nigeria’s elite referees to start performing at the same level as the National Teams of Nigeria.
The South African spoke at the opening ceremony of the FIFA Member Association Elite Referees Course in Abuja on Monday. He was referring to the fact that the U-20 National Team, Flying Eagles, will play at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup finals in New Zealand, while the Falcons are also in Canada for the FIFA Women’s World Cup finals.
Henriques spoke on behalf of Lim Kee Chong from Mauritius, a former FIFA referee of high pedigree who is serving as technical instructor at the programme, and Mark Ephraim Nzengo from Malawi, who is the physical instructor.
“We are convinced that Nigeria has the calibre of referees who can perform at the highest level as the Nigeria National Teams, and with your energy, commitment and enthusiasm, I believe you will get to the top,” remarked Henriques.
NFF Deputy General Secretary, Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme, who represented the NFF President, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick, harped on the commitment of the new NFF administration to seeing Nigerian referees take their place at the top table of the international game.
“The present NFF administration has continued to invest heavily in referees and refereeing. Batches of referees have gone to the United Kingdom for capacity –enhancing programmes, and a third batch will head out in a few days. We are happy because the results have started to show in the form of improved officiating in the domestic League.
“There have been several other windows in which Nigerian referees are being given opportunities and they are doing well. But the Amaju Pinnick administration is insistent on seeing a Nigerian referee perform at the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals in Russia.”
The opening ceremony also served as the closing event for the Referee Assessors and Physical Fitness programme aspect of the course. A total of 61 assessors and 54 physical trainers were involved in the exercise.
At the ceremony were Ikpeme, Henriques, Nzengo, Chong, NRA president, Alhaji Tade Azeez, former NRA president, Alhaji Ahmed Maude and NFF consultants on refereeing Linus Mba and Daniel Olokor.
FIFA Referees: Joshua Opeyemi Amao, Ferdinand Udoh, Benjamin Odey, Henry Ogunyamodi, Abdullahi Shuaibu, Uloma Nwogu, Hadiza Musa, Foluso Ajayi
FIFA Assistant Referees: Peter Edibi, Abel Baba, Usman Isah, Tope Orowole, Samuel Pwadutakan, Efosa Igudia, Peter Ogwu, Abosede Momoh, Mimisen Iyorhe, Hulda Nkwocha, Felicia Obile
FIFA Futsal Referees: Ibrahim Umar Fagge, Paul Umuago, Musa Dung Davon, Ndubuisi Ukah
FIFA Beach Soccer Referees: Jelili Ogunmuyiwa, Mike Ushie, Suleiman Jimeta, Sani Mohammed
Observer Referees: Bashir Salihu, Moses Ojo, Eunice Ammala, Bala Mohammed, Dr. Udennaka Chimezie, Mohammed Saleh, Muize Giwa, Sani Audu, Digbori Tejiri, Umar Mohammed, Sherif Abubakar, Adebimpe Quadri, Usman Mohammed Egede, Nura Abdullahi, Justin Nnadi, Franklin Aguguesi, Rotimi Adigun, Evans Uhunamanre, Ogabor Joseph, Usman Abdulmajid, Sylvester Ohakwe
Referee Instructors: Emmanuel Obafemi, Callistus Chukwujekwu, Faith Irabor, Emmanuel Imiere, Aliu Ibn Saulawa, Sarah Adebisi, Abraham Zakowi, Babatunde Asagba, Felicia Okwugba-Okonji, Abu Mallam, Eke Onyeforo, Ameenu Mohammed, Dele Oladipo, Stella Eloji
Referee Assessors: 61 persons