President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mr.Amaju Melvin Pinnick, has again re-affirmed total commitment of the present NFF administration to the improvement of refereeing in Nigeria.
The NFF supremo, who is also Member of the CAF Executive Committee and Member of the Organising Committee for FIFA Competitions, restated his administrationâ€™s resolve to tackling one of the big issues of Nigerian football at the opening ceremony of this yearâ€™s FIFA Member Association (MA) Elite Programme for Nigerian referees, assessors and physical fitness trainers in Abuja yesterday.
â€œRefereeing is a critical aspect of the game of football. In fact, it is a major issue in the game. You would recall that at the advent of our administration, referees were the first set of people we sent on capacity building programme. Since then, our determination to improve refereeing in Nigerian Football has never waned, and going forward, we are fully committed to ensuring that we achieve wholesale improvement in all aspects of officiating.
â€œI want to appreciate the instructors sent by FIFA (Felix Tangawarima and Tracey Lovell) and I believe our referees stand to gain so much knowledge from this yearâ€™s programme.â€
Tangawarima, a former FIFA referee from Zimbabwe, now a refereesâ€™ instructor, praised the leadership of NFF for the presence of most of its Executive Committee members at the ceremony, saying that in his years of working on referee development programmes, he has never seen such robust top-echelon support for a refereeing course. â€œThe words of the NFF President, who also has foothold in CAF and FIFA, are also very reassuring, and I challenge you all to justify the confidence the NFF leadership has reposed in you by committing to integrity and excellence.â€
Also present at the opening ceremony, inside the Kalem Suites, Abuja were NFF vice presidents Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko, Executive Committee members Ahmed Yusuf Fresh (Chairman, NFF Referees Committee), Sharif Rabiu Inuwa (vice chairman, Referees Committee), Ibrahim Musa Gusau, Suleiman Yahaya Kwande, Aisha Falode, Mohammed Alkali and Babagana Kalli, NFF General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi, NFF Director of Technical Bitrus Bewarang, NRA President Tade Azeez, former NRA President Ahmed Maude, other members of the NFF Referees Committee and some members of the NFF Congress.