Nigerian referees have been excluded from the officiating lists released ahead of the Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022 in November. FIFA picked just 8 referees, 63 assistant referees and 36 VAR officials for World international sporting event scheduled for November 21st 2022.
With the final list to be released later in October, FIFA included ‘controversial’ Gambian Bakary Papa Gassama from the pool of African referees with no single Nigerian referee.
Others on the list are, Jean Jacques Ndala (DR Congo), Mustapha Ghorbal (Algeria) Redouane Jiyed (Morocco), Balmak Tessema (Ethiopia), Victor Gomez (South Africa), Janny Sikazwe (Zambia), and Maguette N’diaye (Senegal).
The majority of these officials were at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
This completes a 92-year omission of Nigerian referees from the FIFA tournament since 1930 which saw the inauguration of the event.
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The closest a Nigerian had to officiate at the World Cup was in 2014 when Peter Egan Edibi, was listed but could not make the short-list for the event in Brazil.
The omission was perceived to be due to politics in the hierarchy of CAF and FIFA but now with Amaju Melvin Pinnick on the FIFA board for competitions, Nigerians are still omitted from the lists.
It now boils down to the quality of officiating for Nigerian referees or it is just another snub in the long list of snubs.