• Saturday, February 24, 2024
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Football fans react as CAF snubs Nigerian referees for AFCON

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Nigerian football fans have been reacting to the recently released lists of referees for next year’s TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Cote D’Ivoire 2023.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) unveiled a list of 85 referees, comprising center referees, assistant referees, Video Assistant Referees (VARs), technical instructors, physical trainers, VAR technicians, and IT support for a preparation course, howbeit with no Nigerian making a list.

Abubakar Sidiq Usman tweeted on X (formerly Twitter) @MrAbuSidiq, “No Nigerian Referee made it to CAF’s selection of Referees for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations preparation course”.

However, in response to CAF selection and Usman’s tweet, Muhammed Bello @MB_Abbas1 said, “It is not surprising gaskiya. Nigerian referees need to do better both professionally and ethically”.

Henry Okonkwo, a Lagos-based sports analyst, said there is a need for the Nigeria Football Referees Association (NRA) to do some soul-searching and house cleaning as urgent as possible.

According to him, the NRA has no excuse for CAF’s snubbing of Nigerian referees ahead of next year’s AFCON.

AFCONQ: Complete list of qualifying teams for Cote d’Ivoire 2023

“Why is there no Nigerian Referee part of the list of officials at next year’s Afcon,” another football fan, Chilenwike Godspower Ahiakwo, asked the NRA on its official Facebook page.

According to a document titled, “List Of Selected Referees To TotalEnergies AFCON Preparation Course”, referees from about 25 countries were listed to take part in the course that will serves as a refresher for AFCON 2023 officiating officials.

Two North African countries, Egypt and Algeria, have the highest number of names penned down in the center referees list (three each) as Morocco, Mauritania, and Mauritius have two each.

Other countries featured on the list are Gabon, Ghana, Benin, Congo, Somalia, while Morocco, Kenya, Cote D’Ivoire, Algeria, Egypt, and South Africa have two names each on the assistant referees list, with Comoros, Djibouti, Burkina Faso, Sao Tome and Principe featuring amongst other countries.

Four VAR referees are selected from Mauritius, South Africa, Morocco and Egypt. Seven technical instructors and physical trainers from Zimbabwe, Burundi, Cote D’Ivoire, Senegal, Morocco, and Djibouti were selected.

Nigerian Super Eagles will be among the 24 countries competing for the title at the 2023 AFCON finals scheduled for January 13 to February 11, 2024.