Nigerian Referees Snubbed Again as CAF Releases Lists Of Officials For Upcoming AFCON 2023.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) have listed 85 referees for a preparatory course ahead of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Ivory Coast, with no Nigerian referee making the shortlist.

The list released on Tuesday, include a total of 32 centre referees, 33 assistant referees who will all undergo a preparatory course for the AFCON tournament next year. Egypt and Algeria have the highest number of referees on the list with three each.

Four VAR referees were selected from Mauritius, South Africa, Morocco and Egypt.

Eight technical instructors and physical trainers from Zimbabwe, Burundi, Cote D’Ivoire, Senegal, Morocco, Sao Tome, Somali, Congo, Lesotho, Chad and Djibouti were selected alongside other VAR technicians and IT support.

At the last edition in Cameroon, Samuel Pwadutakam was the only Nigerian list amongst the 31 assistant referees on duty while there was non in the 24-man list that were at the centre.

it is not the first time that Nigerian officials will be missing out of continental duties.

At the 2019 edition in Egypt which had 26 referees and 31 assistants, no Nigerian referee was selected but Abel Baba made his cut as assistant referee in the 2017 edition in Gabon, while Peter Edibe was on the list at the 2015 and 2013 editions.  In the last  six editions, only three Nigerians have made the list.

Reacting to the recent snub again, the Nigeria Referees Association (NRA) president, Sanni Zubair, reportedly said that Nigeria referees would soon be considered for major competitions in Africa and the world, as the association is working to reposition its officials for excellence on the continent.

“In terms of performance, Nigerian referees are equal to any referee in the world. We have been watching and projecting the younger referees, some of them are now badged as FIFA referees and we have been moving on with them"...Zubairu told The PUNCH Newspaper.

“There is a sort of gap between the ones we had before and now, and that is what we are trying to fill up.” 

24 nations will lock horns for African football most coveted prize in the continental showpiece which will begin from 13 January, 2024 to 11 February, 2024.

The Nigeria Super Eagles team joins host nation Cote d'Ivoire and 22 other already qualified teams for the tournament, as the West African giants look to claim a fourth African crown when they file out in Ivory Coast.

Other continental giants like Cameroon, Senegal, Egypt, Ghana, Morocco and Algeria are all among those who have booked their tickets.

There will be no debutants as Gambia will be making their second appearance at the AFCON.

Below are countries that have qualified:

🇨🇮 Cote d'Ivoire (Hosts)

🇸🇳 Senegal (Defending Champions)

🇩🇿 Algeria

🇦🇴 Angola

🇧🇫 Burkina Faso

🇨🇲 Cameroon

🇨🇻 Cape Verde

🇨🇩 DR Congo

🇪🇬 Egypt

🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea

🇬🇲 Gambia

🇬🇭 Ghana

🇬🇳 Guinea

🇬🇼 Guinea-Bissau

🇲🇱 Mali

🇲🇷 Mauritania

🇲🇦 Morocco

🇲🇿 Mozambique

🇳🇦 Namibia 

🇳🇬 Nigeria

🇿🇦 South Africa

🇹🇿 Tanzania

🇹🇳 Tunisia

🇿🇲 Zambia 


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