The Egyptian referees… watching their female counterparts from Gabon
Referees were bitter over the Handball Federation of Nigeria, HFN decision to invite foreign referees to this year’s Prudent Energy Handball Premier League going on at the Indoor Hall, Package B of Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.
HFN imported two sets of referees – two male, El Mouniri Acharaf and Chouraki Mohamed from Egypt as well as two female, Aisha Odou and Olga Namadjia from Gabon and the Confederation of Africa Handball, CAHB head of Referee from Cote d’Ivoire to spice up the level of officiating in this year’s Prudent Energy Handball Premier League, page3news.com.ng reports.
The referees’ resentment was that no any foreign country invites Nigerian officials to their competition.
“HFN must have spent huge sum of money to bring in these foreign referees, and no any African country has ever invited us to officiate in their competition. The federation would have as well invited more foreigners to completely take over the officiating, if our services are not satisfactory”, some of the embittered referees stated.
“If part of the amount spent in bringing in these foreign referees is added to our allowances to motivate us, we would have been happy”.
But the Chairman HFN Competition and Organising Commission, Barrister Emmanuel Akhigbe dismissed the referees’ grudges and said the federation has in the previous championships handled one complaint too many from participating states and clubs on gross incompetence of the referees.
“Aside some of our referees being old, they are incompetent. We are really disturbed and tired of complaints and protests by the states and clubs in our previous championships. This time, we decided to have a change by inviting these referees from Egypt and Gabon whom we believe, are much more experienced than ours to see the difference, and could add more value to the league.
“We also invited the Confederation of Africa Handball, CAHB head of referees from Cote d’Ivoire, who will organise a refresher course for our referees during this 2022 Prudent Energy Premier League.
“The moment we notice measure of improvement on our referees, yes, we will stop bringing these foreign referees”, Barr Emmanuel Akhigbe said.
The foreign referees’ first assignment was the match between De Defenders and Rima Strikers played Monday at the Velodrom that ended 29-29, and they have been assigned other matches without complaints lodged on poor officiating.
Page3news.com.ng reports that it is not the same on the matches that have been handled by the indigenous referees.
Some teams officials were however happy at the officiating level of the invited referees saying, “they (foreign referees) are human beings too, but they are more efficient in their officiating so far. If our referees have been that efficient, the HFN may not have bothered to invite foreigners to officiate in our league. We have been having series of protests and complaints, and it is still on; especially in the matches handled by our indigenous referees. Let our referees learn, and if there’s improvement noticed in them, they also could be invited by our neighbouring countries during their competition”, some of teams officials volunteered in a chat.