The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has released a list of referees for the2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South.
CAF’s list of 18 referees did not include any Nigerian.
One Nigerian, Peter Edibe was included in CAF’s list of 21 assistant referees.
The development has angered former President of the Nigeria Football Referees Association (NRA), Senibo Sam Sam Jaja who has put the blame squarely on the doorsteps of the referees committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) led by Suleiman Muazu.
“It’s a dog eat dog situation and I can say without any fear of contradiction that the Suleiman Muazu-led referee’s committee is responsible for this national shame. They are unpatriotic and selfish. How can they tell us no Nigerian is good enough to referee at the Afcon? This is totally unacceptable,” an angry Jaja told supersport.com.
The former referees chief identified Nigeria Premier League (NPL) Fifa graded referee, Solomon Wokoma as one Nigerian referee who would have made the list released by CAF for the 2013 Afcon.
“Solomon Wokoma is one of the most experienced referees in Africa today but it is a shame that in Nigeria, we never support our own.
“While CAF was compiling the names of referees that will officiate at the 2013 Afcon, members of the referees committee were busy running down Wokoma with false claims about his health and trying to fix their stooges on the list. CAF is not stupid and only those with the requisite experience had a chance of making the list. So Nigerians should know who to demand answers from for this national disgrace,” he said.
Quizzed on whether the current hiatus of the NPL may have affected the chances of Nigerian referees making the list, Jaja waved away such arguments.
“So how would you explain the inclusion of Egypt’s Gehad Grisha who was included even with the Egyptian league suspended? That had nothing to do with the snub of Nigerian referees by CAF,” he said.
Emmanuel Imiere was the last Nigerian to officiate at the Afcon when he took charge of the Group C game between Zambia and Guinea in Alexandria at the 2006 edition in Egypt.
Jaja was President of the NRA at that time and no Nigerian has officiated at the Afcon since then.