Nigerian referees are World Cup potentials, says former FIFA referee

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Abuja- Lim Kee-Chong, a former FIFA referee from Mauritius, has rated Nigerian referees high as calls for their participations at the FIFA Senior World Cup thickens.

Kee-Chong, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) after a week-long FIFA Member Association Elite Referees Course, had in April 2014 tipped Nigerian referees to officiate at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

He said that the appointment of Nigerian referees for CAF matches and other FIFA age-group international competitions was a sign of the tremendously improvement among the referees in the last 12 months.

“For sure, you can assess it when you see their officiating outside the country at international level.

“So, if they are appointed regularly, it means that their level is going high; there is an improvement for sure.

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“Yesterday I asked them again, do you hope to be there (FIFA World Cup) because everybody is saying Nigeria is a big country.

“Every time their team is going to the World Cup what about to have one referee there one day; they have to commit themselves, they can be there.’’
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NAN recalls Carlos Henriques, a FIFA Referee Development Officer, had called on Nigerian referees to forget about World Cup officiating ambition for now.

He advised them to concentrate more on how to secure the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) slots.

Henriques said that the Nigerian referees needed all the support they could get to earn a World Cup slot.

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NAN also recalls that World football governing body, FIFA, had appointed a Nigerian referee, Jelili Ogunmuyiwa, to officiate at this year’s FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup competition.

The competition is scheduled to take place in Espinho, Portugal, between July 9 and July 19.

Ogunmuyiwa, who officiated the final match of last month’s African Beach Soccer Championship in Seychelles, between Madagascar and Senegal, is among only three Africans in the 24-man list for the global tournament.

A Nigerian match official, Peter Edibi, was also selected by CAF to officiate at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations Cup (AFCON) hosted by Equatorial Guinea.

NAN reports that the FIFA Member Association Elite Referees Course also had FIFA instructors like Mark Nzengo from Malawi and Linus Mba from Nigeria in attendance. (NAN)

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