The laudable developmental efforts of the Executive Committee of Nigeria Football Federation for Nigerian referees have not gone unnoticed, as world football –governing body, FIFA, has decided to bolster these moves with a FIFA Member Association Refereeing Course this month.
Chairman of the NFF Referees Committee, Alhaji Yusuf Ahmed Fresh told thenff.com on Friday that the course, which has been scheduled for 23rd -29th May, will hold at the FIFA Technical Centre, National Stadium Complex, Abuja.
Ahmed Fresh was highly commended at Tuesday’s meeting of the NFF Executive Committee in Abuja, for the giant strides being made in the re-orientation of Nigerian referees and ready disciplinary sanctions, which have combined with capacity –enhancing programmes to improve officiating in domestic competitions.
In a letter dated 4th May, 2015 and signed by Fernando Tresaco Gracia, FIFA’s Refereeing Development Senior Manager, the world body stated: “Following internal discussions, we are pleased to confirm the combined course for top referees, assistant referees and assessors in the framework of the Refereeing Assistance Programme course catalogue and we will appoint a technical instructor and physical instructor.”
On Friday, Ahmed Fresh confirmed that FIFA has appointed renowned former international referee An Yan Lim Kee Chong from Mauritius as technical instructor, while Malawian Mark Ephraim Nzengo will be physical instructor for the one-week programme.
South African Carlos Manuel Neves, FIFA Referees Development Officer, will also be on ground for the course.
A total of 73 assessors, 17 referees and 11 assistant referees will take part in the course, while 20 other referees will be observers.
Among the assessors are former FIFA referees Dr. Alex Mana, Olufunmi Olaniyan, Chigozie Uneke, Emmanuel Onah, James Korinjoh, Rahman Olawoyin, Ismaila Abdullahi and James Odeniran. Nigeria’s current FIFA referees Ago Abubakar, Amao Opeyemi, Ferdinand Udoh, Benjamin Odey Henry Ogunyamodi, Abdullahi Shuaibu, Uloma Nwogu, Hadiza Musa and Foluso Ajayi, as well as current FIFA assistant referees Peter Edibi, Abel Baba, Usman Isah, Tope Orowole, Samuel Pwadutakan, Efosa Igudia, Peter Ogwu, Abosede Momoh, Mimisen Iyorhe, Hulda Nkwocha and Felicia Obile will be involved.
FIFA futsal referees Ibrahim Fagge, Paul Umuago, Musa Dung Davon and Ndubuisi Ukah, and FIFA beach soccer referees Jelili Ogunmuyiwa, Mike Ushie, Suleiman Jimeta and Sani Mohammed will be available for fitness tests only.
All the above-mentioned active FIFA referees and assistant referees have benefitted from the present NFF administration’s capacity –building programmes, and Ogunmuyiwa made history last month by becoming the first Nigerian to referee a CAF final match in decent memory when he took charge of the Madagascar/Senegal African Beach Soccer Championship final in Seychelles.
Several other Nigerian referees have been appointed for continental assignments of recent, and Jelili Ogunmuyiwa is heading to Portugal in July to officiate at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.