‘Nigerian Referees, Best In The World’
Taiwo Osawe, a retired FIFA-barged Referee has said that poor coverage of the country’s football league scene had made it impossible for the world at large to know how competent Nigerian referees are.
Osawe told Tidesports yesterday in Benin, that in spite of the lack of publicity “our referees are the best in the world.
“As an official, who was on the FIFA listing for nine years during my active days, I can tell you that my colleagues are the best in the world.
‘The only snag is that we do not have good publicity for our local league. We all watch the English and the Italian leagues.
“You could see the level of officiating in those matches. My assessment is that even with our poor technology, our worst referee here will be the best out there if given the opportunity,’’ he said.
Osawe decried the prevailing “pull him down syndrome, which has blighted the profile of the country’s domestic football’’.
“But as I said before, we do not have the means of showcasing our potentials and our people, rather than encourage what they have, we have chosen to pursue the bring-him-down syndrome.’’
The retired referee, who officiated about nine Challenge Cup finals in his active days, explained that “I watch both English Premier League and the Spanish La Liga and I see some obvious mistakes made by the match officials.
“Yet, their media don’t castigate them the way we do here in Nigeria. If our referees were to make a tiny percentage of the mistakes they make, the Nigerian media will ask FIFA to delist their names from the list.
“Our referees are good but the environment is not too friendly to encourage them to thrive,’’ he said.