While some other African countries have their nationals in the 107-officiating crew for the Women’s World Cup later this year in Australia and New Zealand, there is no Nigerian.
This is a reflection of the officiating in the country and possibly, the level of football development.
In the list released by the football governing body this Monday, there are 33 referees; four of who are from Africa.
They are Vincentia Amedome from Togo, Bouchra Karboubi from Morocco, Akhona Makalima of South Africa and Salima Mukansanga of Rwanda.
The overlooking of Nigerian officials at major international competitions is not a new development.
FIFA in releasing the list of officials for the Women’s World Cup explains:
“As always, the criteria we have used is ‘quality first’ and the selected on-field match officials represent the highest level of refereeing worldwide,” said the chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, Pierluigi Collina.
“We all remember the very successful FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 in France.
“The high standard of refereeing contributed significantly to that success. The aim for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 is to repeat that success and to convince again with excellent referees’ performances.”
Further explanations emerged from the press release by FIFA. It stated that the selection was in close cooperation with the six confederations
A total of 33 referees, 55 assistant referees and 19 video match officials (VMOs) will form FIFA Team One and have been chosen in close cooperation with the six confederations based on the officials’ quality and the performances delivered at FIFA tournaments “as well as at other international and domestic competitions in recent years.”
Apart from the absence of Nigerians among the 33 referees, none made the corps of 55 assistant referees and 19 video match officials (VMOs).
Among the 55 assistant referees are seven from Africa. They are: Carine Tezambong Fomo of Cameroon, Diana Chikotesha of Zambia, Soukaina Hamdi and Fatiha Jermoumi of Morocco and Fanta Kone of Mali.
Other Africans are Mary Njoroge of Kenya and Queency Victoire of Mauritius.
Adil Zourak of Morocco is the only African among the19 video match officials (VMOs)