The profile of Nigerian referees continue to rise, as football’s world –governing body, FIFA, has appointed Nigerian official Ferdinand Anietie Udoh as referee for next month’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier between Chad and Egypt in N’Djamena.
In a letter dated 21 October and signed by Gordon Savic, Head of FIFA World Cup and Olympic qualifiers, Udoh is to be assisted by fellow Nigerians Peter Edibi, Abel Baba and Henry Ogunyamodi as assistant 1, assistant 2 and fourth official respectively.
The match between the Les Sao and the Pharaohs, who are also incidentally in the same group in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations race (same group as Nigeria) will take place at the Stade Idriss Mahamat Ouya in N’Djamena on Saturday, November 14 and start at 3.30pm Chad time.
An excited Mr. Linus Mba, FIFA Technical Advisor on refereeing and NFF consultant, wrote to NFF President Amaju Pinnick: “The prospect of having our own citizens in the finals of the FIFA World Cup is getting brighter by the day. The arrowhead is Ferdinand Udoh who is now getting more match exposure and experience by CAF through FIFA.
“Judging by the current appointment, Udoh is being entrusted with even a heavier assignment [Chad and Egypt in November 2015] – the second for him in a month after the World Cup match between Guinea Bissau and Liberia on October 13, 2015. The new appointment confirms that he was highly rated by his supervising match officials in Guinea Bissau. To underscore the grade one nature of the match, FIFA has assigned the two most experienced Assistant Referees from Nigeria to support him in next month’s match.
“Please Mr. President we are not yet there; we are still on the thresholds. We are definitely going to need your increased support to keep us constantly on track until we achieve our objective of officiating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup and thereafter.”