Abuja – The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) is working to ensure that Nigerian referees are represented at all Confederation of African Football (CAF) and FIFA events, an official has said.
A FIFA’s Referees’ Instructor, Felix Tangawarima, who disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja, said the world football governing body had taken note of Nigeria’s presence at most of its competitions.
Tangawarima, who spoke at the opening ceremony of the 2012 FIFA Member Association (MA) Course for Elite Referees, Referee Assessors and Physical Fitness Instructors, said FIFA would thus take necessary action.
The reports that the course which is the second edition is holding from Oct. 1 to Oct. 7 with 86 participants.
“FIFA has noted that Nigeria is one of the countries working hard to develop its referees. We discovered that when we left last year, they are not sitting and waiting for FIFA to develop their referees for them.
“After the maiden edition of the course last year, we noted that the local instructors are also building up efforts to improve on what we did.
“Nigeria is actually investing a lot of money in the development of referees and football in general.
“We noted that at every level of CAF and FIFA-organised event, there is a Nigerian team. So, we want to ensure that Nigeria succeeds in terms of refereeing.
“So, FIFA wants to ensure that Nigeria has referee representatives at every level of CAF and FIFA event.
“But this can only be done through the hard work of the referees themselves and the support which they get from the local instructors and we are happy at their efforts so far,’’ Tangawarima said.He commended the high number of participants in the programme, saying it was due to FIFA’s recognition of the hard work of Nigerian referees.
30 elite referees, 36 referees’ assessors and 20 physical fitness instructors are participating in the course.
Speaking later, Robert Aundugh, a participant from Benue, said his participation in the last edition of the course helped him in his officiating duties for the last season.
“We expect to learn something and improve on what we have learnt last year, because new things keep coming up and the laws of the game are being amended every year.
“So, we are sure to get it from here and keep implementing them when the league starts.
“If you watched Nigerian Leagues last season and the continental matches, you will see that we (Nigerian referees) have developed and improved on the way we used to do things in those days.
“This is because of courses like this one. So, we are hoping to get the best out of this at the end of the course,’’ he said.
Bunmi Ogunkolade from Oyo State commended the organisers of the course, adding that he would leave the course a better referee.
“It is a nice course in terms of organisation and arrangements, as well as the instructors.
“We now have a different and improved way of officiating, owing to the knowledge we acquired last year. I believe by the time we leave here, all of us will be better referees than what we were last year,’’ he said.
Abel Baba from Kogi expressed optimism that the knowledge to be acquired would go a long way in improving the standard of the league in the forthcoming Nigerian football league season.
The last year’s edition of the course was held from Sept. 26 to Oct. 4, 2011 and had 28 participants.