The retired Fifa-badge referee has fingered poor organisation and bad press as reasons behind the exclusion of country’s arbiters from the 2014 Fifa World Cup
Former Fifa referee Alex Mana has lamented the snub of Nigerian referees from the 2014 Fifa World Cup Brazil.
Mana who is a chief lecturer at the National Institute for Sports, Lagos has told Goal reasons why the country had no representation in the 20th edition of the quadrennial football showpiece insisting it is unheard of for a country as big as Nigeria not to have at least an official.
“It is something I don’t want to think about that our referees should be excluded from the Fifa World Cup but as the adage goes, ‘as you lay your bed you shall lie on it’. We are not doing well in the area of bringing up our referees,” Mana told Goal.
“If we have smaller countries that produce world class referees and we are more than 180 million and yet can’t produce any referee for the world cup, I think we should look inward. It is a very shameful thing to have happened to us in this millennium.
“It is not that we don’t have great referees here, but the process of getting those referees there is what we are lacking in Nigeria,” he continued.
He did not leave the Nigerian press out of the blame too as he feels ‘bad reportage’ is another key factor why the country’s referees have been continually snubbed for international competitions while proffering the way forward.
“The press take a part of the blame too because at every incident, you blow it out to the world and when Fifa and Caf read, they assume that all Nigerian referees are bad.
“Even some of the foreign ones are worse than us but they have an internal mechanism to cover their flaws and that we lack.
“To move ahead, we must imitate what others have done to succeed. We can all get it right if we do the right things.
“I can categorically tell you that the best referees in the world abound in Nigeria. The country is not a failure and we can never be a failure. If we continue to follow our old ways of doing things, we will get nowhere,” he concluded.