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Nigerian football’s gradual improvement is heart-gladdening, says first female FIFA-badged referee

A former FIFA-badged referee, Bola Abidoye, on Tuesday said recent successes recorded in Nigerian football indicate a good path to development and everlasting growth.

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Abidoye, who is the Vice-Chairman of Kaduna State Referees Council stated this in Zaria, Kaduna State that it was heart-warming that Nigerian football was improving daily.

“Our recent matches at senior level against Cameroon and Zambia show we have greatly improved.

“It is also gratifying to note that Nigeria is the first African country to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals.

“These are good indicators of development. So, we must appreciate the players’ efforts,’’ she said.

Abidoye who was the first Nigerian female referee to be badged by FIFA however pointed out that women football in Nigeria has also grown considerably in Nigeria.

“The women are also doing well, if we go back to the Falconets’ victory against Tanzania some weeks ago.

“So, we must appreciate the fact that Nigerian football has been growing at all levels, and we should be happy with that,” she said.

Turning to the domestic league, Abidoye said the quality of the 2016/2017 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) which Plateau United Football Club of Jos won was another indicator of development.

“There is a big difference now from what used to be some years back. We are having young and talented players who have the heart to play the game not for anything other than the good of the game.

“And this is why we have so many of them looking good enough to play for bigger clubs outside Nigeria.

“Also, a lot of our players are performing well in Europe, and this means we are surely there.

“To me, we have arrived and we shall bring the FIFA World Cup to Nigeria one day,”she noted.

Abidoye also said football administration in Nigeria has improved, with the board members of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) trying their best to bring in some improvements too.

Speaking about football officiating in Nigeria, Abidoye who officiated at several times at the continental and global levels said Nigerian referees have been equal to the task.

“Because we have many young and talented referees, during the World Cup qualifying matches some of them officiated and they did very well.

“None of them was sanctioned, or suspended, while one of them who went to Egypt came first.

“So, we are very proud of them, and they have been positively complementing the growth of football in Nigeria and Africa,” she said.


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