There will be no Nigerian referee on duty at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivorie as the Confederation of African Football (CAF) have omitted Nigerian referees from their list for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast, Prime Business Africa reports.
Between 13 January and 11 February 2024, a total of 24 nations will lock horns for African football most coveted prize. The Super Eagles will be looking to claim a fourth African crown when they file out in Ivory Coast.
CAF have released a list of referees for the competition who will undergo a preparatory course for the AFCON next year. However, no Nigerian umpire made the list.
There are referees from Algeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Congo, Mali, Chad, Mauritius, Burundi, Djibouti, Lesotho, Somali, Benin Republic, Madagascar, Sao Tome and Principe, and other countries in Africa.
In total, 32 referees and 33 assistant referees were invited for the tournament, and VAR officials, making a total of 85 officials set for a referees course ahead of the tournament.
Four Video Assistant Referees(VAR) from Morocco, Egypt, South Africa, and Mauritius were also invited for the preparation course. Unfortunately, none of the referees is from Nigeria.
The last time a Nigerian referee worked as the center referee in a Nations Cup game was in 2006, making it 18 straight years since a Nigerian referee officiated at the Nations Cup.
Meanwhile, former Enyimba Football Club coach Kadiri Okhana who led the ‘Peoples Elephant’ to winning the CAF Champions League in 2003 said the situation is because the Nigeria Football Premier League (NPFL) is not of the highest quality because of corruption in the game.
“We don’t have a (good) league so we don’t have good referees. Over the years, we have been corrupt: the league, the players, the coaches, the administrators and even the fans,” Ikhana told Brila FM, Lagos
Ikhana however said there has been some improvement in the quality of match officiating of late in the Nigerian league.
“With the (positive) changes we are experiencing now, we should not e pect an immediate change to the situation but in the next two years (2025), and not immediately,” Ikhana stressed.
Enyimba repeated the CAF Champions League winning feat th following year with coach Okey Emordi in charge of the side that featured former Nigeria internationals like Vincent Enyeama and Dele Aiyenugba.
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Izuchukwu Okosi is a Nigerian sports and entertainment journalist with two decades of experience in the media industry having begun his media journey in 2002 as an intern at Mundial Sports International (MSI) and Africa Independent Television (AIT), owners of Daar Communications Plc.
In October 2004, Okosi joined Complete Communications Limited, publishers of Complete Sports newspaper and Complete Football magazine as a reporter and later script writer for the Complete Sports studio.
He worked there for 13 years until October 2017.
Okosi also worked various times as Correspondent, Content creator and Editor at Sports Market International Magazine, Opera News, All Nigeria Soccer Media and Iconic Media Watch.
He also undertook freelance writing gigs for some local and international organizations.
Okosi is a member of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Association of Movie Producers (AMP), Association of Voiceover Artistes of Nigeria (AVOA), Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) and Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
He has been part of cast in some Nollywood movies and radio dramas including Blood Money 2, Scores To Settle, Dead End 2, Another Campus Tale and Battle Line.
Aside mainstream media and the entertainment industry, he has interests in scouting/unearthing of talents in the sports and creative sectors, exports business and property development.