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Nigeria Football Crisis: NFF urges match officials to be focused

Abuja – The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has urged match officials in the country not to be distracted by the
current leadership crisis in the football house, describing it as “side attractions’’.

Mohammed Sanusi, NFF General Secretary, gave the advice on Monday in Abuja at the opening of a five-day FIFA Member Association Course for
Referees.

“It’s a developmental programme which is so dear to the Nigeria Football Federation, and of course FIFA graciously accepted to send officials to come and train our referees’ assessors and of course match commissioners.

“Instead of us taking them to Europe for training, they have endeavoured to send people to come and assist in our developmental programme.

“We are here for a special training and we believe that the Nigerian referees are good enough to go places.

“I also pray for them that one day, one of them will be discovered to officiate in the finals of the World Cup.

“I have also charged them not to be distracted by side attractions that are happening in the Nigerian football.’’

Sanusi said that Nigerian match officials would soon be officiating in the World Cup finals, a development which had evaded the country for a
long time.

President of the Nigeria Referees Association (NRA), Tade Azeez, said the ongoing course would enable the match officials to be up to date
on the rules of football, which had been reviewed.

Azeez said that the new rules, which would be effective from June 1,would see referees awarding penalties from incidents that occurred
outside the 18 yard box among others.

“There is no better time for us to have this programme; first and foremost, the laws of the game have been reviewed and it’s massive.

“ Implementation is expected to commence by June 1 after the review of the laws.

“If we are having this FIFA Member Association course for our elite referees, referees assessors, physical fitness trainers now that the laws have been reviewed, I think we are on the right track.

“We are expected to learn so much after the football laws were revised so that we can implement as appropriate.’’

Carlos Henriquez, the FIFA Referees Development Officer, urged Nigerian referees to improve their skill to enable them break into the FIFA officiating team.

“I expect them to work very hard considering that Nigeria is “super power’’ in Africa, so I expect them to be the best in Africa,’’ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that training for assessors and physical fitness monitors will end on Tuesday, while the referees
training will continue till Friday.

Fitness test for eleven aside referees will hold on Tuesday morning, while fustal and beach soccer referees will have theirs on Thursday.

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