Despite an earlier assurance by the Chairman, Referees Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Faith Irabor, that the country will produce credible men and women to officiate at the global level, no Nigerian made the list yesterday, as football governing body, FIFA, selected 25 referees and 38 assistant referees for Argentina 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
FIFA Referees Committee picked the 63 officials, yesterday, in addition to 18 video match officials for the tournament.
Irabor had told The Guardian shortly after her appointment as chairman of the Nigeria Referee Committee, that one of the things she would do for the country is to produce credible referees to officiate at global events.
However, such dream seems to be fading away, with reports of poor officiating in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
It was not surprising, yesterday, when FIFA rolled out a long list of 63 referees for the U-20 World Cup in Argentina without a single official from Nigeria. Rather, referees from Senegal, South Africa, Morocco, Mauritius, Egypt, Angola, Algeria and Cote d’Ivoire made the list for the U-20 World Cup.
The FIFA U-20 World Cup, Argentina 2023, will hold between May 20 and June 11, 2023. The draw to determine the groups will hold today in Zurich.
While announcing the referees yesterday, the chairman, FIFA Referees Committee, Pierluigi Collina, said: “It is a particular joy to be able to hold the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina and Argentina will be a great venue for this important competition which is the beginning of a new cycle leading to the FIFA World Cup 2026.”
Overseen by the FIFA Refereeing Subdivision, the officials’ preparations for the youth competition will focus on a wide range of topics, such as their reading and understanding of the game, teamwork, and the importance of obtaining the best position or angle – being in the right place at the right time – to make the correct decision.
“All these aspects reflect the FIFA Refereeing philosophy and are key to the officials’ performance, and as such, are vital to achieve consistency and uniformity at such a high level of the game. For FIFA, it is essential to ensure that the best match officials from all around the world are selected for FIFA competitions,” said FIFA’s Director of Refereeing Massimo Busacca.
The selected match officials will participate a few days before the tournament kicks off in a final preparation seminar, reviewing and analysing video clips of real-match situations, and taking part in practical training sessions with players, which will be filmed to enable participants to receive instant feedback from the instructors.
“After the successful FIFA World Cup in Qatar last November and December, this competition in Argentina will give talented FIFA match officials the opportunity to show their quality while taking another step forward in their career,” said Collina.