Referee being brutalized
FIFA Referee Instructor, Felix Tangawarima from Zimbabwe has hailed the progress that Nigerian referees have made in the past one year, positing that if they continue on that trajectory, it would be only a matter of time before they start making the grade for major global championships.
The former FIFA referee made this observation at the closing ceremony of this year’s FIFA Member Association Elite Program for Nigerian referees, assessors and physical fitness trainers held in Abuja on Friday.

“I am most sincerely impressed by the progress that has taken place between last year’s program and this year, and I am not saying this just to make you feel great. There has been tremendous progress and I am quite delighted.

“Certainly, if we continue this way, we will soon have some Nigerian referees officiating in the biggest global competitions. Even during this programme, a batch of referees left to officiate a CAF Champions League match. I am convinced you are all destined for greater things.”

NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, who performed the closing ceremony on behalf of the NFF President, praised the Nigeria Referees Association and the NFF Referees Committee for the diligence, energy and commitment they invest in training and re-training of arbiters.

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Felix Tangawarima
“The words of Mr. Tangawarima are inspiring, and it means that the passion and investment of the present NFF administration in making Nigerian referees better are not misplaced. The NFF believes that refereeing is a principal aspect of the game and officiating plays a key role in making or marring a football match.

“My challenge to Nigerian referees is to continue to improve themselves at every opportunity, and to consistently commit to thorough application of the laws of the game.”

NRA President Tade Azeez, obviously a very happy man, disclosed that the NRA has set in motion a workable plan to replicate the FIFA program in the six geopolitical zones of the country, with the objective of driving development from the grassroots. He said the exercise will begin in the South West.

The NRA boss then unveiled a set of attires already approved by the body for all referees to wear at pre –match meetings for domestic and international matches as from the next football season. The referees also made a presentation to Mr. Tangawarima.
Also at the closing ceremony were Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme (NFF Deputy General Secretary), Coach Bitrus Bewarang (NFF Director of Technical), Mr. Bola Oyeyode (NFF Director of Competitions), Mr. Ademola Olajire (NFF Director of Communications) and Dr. Christian Emeruwa (NFF Integrity Officer).

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