The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has decorated 29 referees with FIFA badges and charged them to be upright in the discharge of their duties.
The NFF President, Ibrahim Gusau gave the charge at the 2023 FIFA Badging Ceremony at the Conference Hall of the Goal Project, Abuja on Wednesday.
He urged international referees from the country to respect the integrity regulations expected of them.
Gusau was represented at the occasion by the NFF General Secretary, Sanusi Mohammed.
He said FIFA referees have become Nigeria’s ambassadors who should consider the image of the country, when called upon to discharge their duties.
Gusau asked the referees to showcase the rare qualities that made them to be found worthy of consideration for the elite refereeing status.
“They must ensure they do their jobs according to the laid down rules and represent Nigeria well because to whom much is given, much is expected.
“Also with the increase in their allowances and indemnities as well as prompt payments directly to them before their matches, it is expected that all these will act as a morale booster for them.
“The NFF has also ordered the match commissioners to ensure that all referees are placed on speakers and recorded at all times during matches.
“We will also ensure that we call them before every match to remind them of the need to do what is right, bearing in mind that Nigeria is a very big country.
“We cannot afford not to have the best team representing us at continental championships.
“The era where our teams will qualify for continental competitions and get eliminated in the first round must be a thing of the past.
“So, what we want is for the referees to be fair in the discharge of their responsibilities,” he said.
The president said the Federation is happy with the performances of Nigeria both at international and domestic scenes, warranting their welfare to become an issue of concern.
He added that the referees must justify the confidence reposed in them by imbibing ethical machinations to display high level integrity expected of them.
President of the Nigeria Referees Association (NRA), Tade Azeez, said the badging ceremony was an annual ritual meant to decorate arbiters who are recognised by FIFA their own referees.
He said that the NRA has always been available to work for the interest of the members, adding that international badges call for more challenges in their refereeing career.
Azeez urged the referees to make use of the chances accorded them to reach the peak of their international career before retirement.
“We must be good ambassadors at all times and upright in whatever we do,” he said.
He assured that the issue of security would be a top priority under his watch, as well as the training and re-training of match officials.
Faith Irabor, Chairman of the NFF Referees’ Committee assured that the body would continue to keep the men in the middle on their toes to rid Nigerian football of bad officiating.
“We take the issue of discipline very seriously and that’s why we have invited all suspended referees and assistant referees for the 2023 Women and Abridged Premier League to meet with the Referees’ Committee today,” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that seven of the referees were badged as FIFA referees, while another seven were decorated as FIFA assistant referees.
Four were FIFA women referees and three were FIFA women assistant referees.
Also badged were four FIFA beach soccer referees while another four were FIFA futsal referees.
Two of the arbiters are new to the topmost rank: Muhammed Yakubu and Tijjani Ahmad, who will operate as FIFA assistant referees.
Full of list of badged referees:
FIFA Referees: Ogabor Joseph; Nurudeen Abubakr; Quadri Adebimpe; Kassim Abdulsalam; Abdullahi Abubakar; Bashir Salihu; Grema Mohammed
FIFA Assistant Referees: Samuel Pwadutakam; Usman Abdulmajeed; Efosa Igudia Celestine; Hope Igho; Tejiri Digbori; Muhammed Yakubu; Tijjani Ahmad
FIFA Beach Soccer Referees: Jelili Ogunmuyiwa; Fawole Olawale; Olayinka Olajide; Rabiu Ahmad
FIFA Futsal Referees: Bello Zuru Alhassan; Musa Dung Davou; Paul Umuago; Uhah Ndubuisi
FIFA Women Referees: Ndidi Patience; Hannah Eliagwu; Olufunmilayo Alaba; Yemisi Akintoye
FIFA Women Assistant Referees: Mfon Friday Akpan; Beauty Kabenda Terah; Abibat Yusuf.