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Why Nigeria Referees Are One of the Best in the World” – Raji Kayode

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A retired referee and International narcotics Expert, Mr Raji Kayode, who was a guest on Wakawaka Hot Seat platform has reiterated that Nigeria referees are one of the best in the world, Silvernews.com.ng reports.

Kayode, who is also the Commander, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Ondo State Command provided answers to the officiating problems in the Nigerian football system and the recently signed collaboration between the NDLEA and NPFL to eradicate drug abuse in Nigerian football.

According to him, the problem among Nigeria referees is not limited to corruption but insecurity in the various match venues while calling on the security agencies and club administrators to beef up security, particularly for the referees.

 

On the issue of drug abuse by players who indulge in the act, he proposed a periodic testing of players and sensitization workshop to educate them on the dangers associated with drug abuse.

His words: “Without any doubt or any contradiction, I wish to restate that Nigerian referees are one of the best in the world. There is difference between incompetence and corruption. When you are talking of competence, Nigeria referees are one of the best in the world. When you see some officiating irrespective of what happens in some matches, we are not happy about them but Nigeria referees still remain one of the best in the world.

“Nigeria referees are still very good but the problem is not just limited to corruption, it’s also insecurity in the stadia. Even in those days when officiating was top notch, some referees would do whatever the bidding of the home team just to get away or out of the stadium alive.

“The problem still resides with our club administrators. You are expected as a referee to count the number of the security officials in the stadia, if you don’t have the number that is recommended, you don’t officiate but then the problem we still have is that a lot of policemen will be there at the beginning of the match but as the match wears on, they all go out.

“A lot of things needs to be done but I believe the NRA has the initiative and bring on certain proposals and send them to the NFF in such a way that insecurity in the stadia will be eradicated.

“Nigeria referees are still one of the best in the world. Some make genuine mistakes and we know that some go out of their way. But generally speaking, those few are not enough to taint the image of the referees bad. What we need to do is intensive training and retraining.”

Responding to a question of why our Referees are not being selected by CAF and FIFA to officiate in spite of his stance that Nigerian Referees are one of the best in the world, he responded:

“Our domestic league was not on TV. CAF and FIFA hear/read a lot of condemnations of our Referees from the media. That is a minus. Again, no matter how we look at it, we need to do some lobbying, or call it diplomacy. This was at play during the time of Oyo Orok, Dr Amos Adamu etc. We need men in CAF and FIFA to project our interest, including our Referees.

“Can we recall when any of our Referees, either as Assistant Referees or Reserve, perform ignonimously at international fora? The few, though far and in- between, that had the opportunity to officiate internationally have always performed exceptionally well. But as I said earlier, there is still room for improvement. We can still do better.

“We are proposing to conduct periodic drug tests on players. Of course, this would be done with the blessings of Club Officials. Lectures and workshops highlighting the dangers of drug abuse, with copious references to Diego Maradona, Marion Jones, Ben Johnson, even Michael Jackson, Brenda Fasie etc would be made.


“This will be all over the country as each State Command of NDLEA would be involved in this. This is not about looking for culprits, it’s about looking for patients to heal, so that our football will have a clean bill. Our boss, Gen Buba Marwa (Rted) is a football buff who also takes passionate interest in our local league.”

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