The Nigerian Football Federation has awarded 29 referees with FIFA badges and urged them to show integrity in the performance of their duties.

NFF President Ibrahim Gusau said this on Wednesday at the 2023 FIFA Badge Award Ceremony at the Goal Project Conference Hall, Abuja.

He urged the country’s international arbitrators to respect the standards of integrity expected of them.

Gusau was represented on the occasion by the General Secretary of the NFF, Sanusi Mohammed.

He said that FIFA referees have become ambassadors of Nigeria who must take into account the image of the country when they are asked to carry out their duties.

Gusau advised referees to display the rare qualities that made them worthy of consideration for elite referee status.

“They have to make sure that they do their job according to the established rules and represent Nigeria well because from whom much is given, much is expected.

“In addition, with their allowances and indemnities increased, as well as timely payments directly before their matches, all of this is expected to act as a morale booster for them.

“The NFF has also directed match commissioners to ensure that all referees are connected to speakers and recorded at all times during matches,” he said.

The NFF chief added: “We also make sure to call them before every match to remind them of the need to do the right thing, considering Nigeria is a very big country.

“We cannot afford not to have the best team to represent us in the continental championships.

“The era in which our teams will qualify for continental competitions and be knocked out in the first round must be a thing of the past.

“So what we want is for the referees to be fair in carrying out their responsibilities.”

The NFF President said that the Federation is pleased with Nigeria’s performances on both the international and domestic stages, which justifies making its well-being an issue of concern.

He added that referees must justify the trust placed in them by absorbing ethical machinations to display the high-level integrity expected of them.

Nigerian Referees Association president Tade Azeez said the accreditation ceremony was an annual ritual aimed at honoring referees recognized by FIFA as their own referees.

He said the NRA has always been available to work in the interest of members, adding that international badges demand more challenges in his refereeing career.

Azeez urged the referees to take advantage of the opportunities given to them to reach the peak of their international careers before retiring.

“We must be good ambassadors at all times and upright in everything we do,” he said.

He Nigerian News Agency reports that seven of the referees were accredited as FIFA referees, while another seven were decorated as FIFA assistant referees.

Four were FIFA referees and three were FIFA assistant referees.

Four FIFA beach soccer referees were also identified, while another four were FIFA futsal referees.

Two of the referees are new to the highest rank: Muhammed Yakubu and Tijjani Ahmad, who will serve as FIFA assistant referees.

Full list of accredited arbitrators:

FIFA referees: Jose Ogabor; Nurudeen Abubakr; Quadri Adebimpe; Kasim Abdul Salam; Abdullahi Abubakar; Bashir Salihu; grema mohamed

FIFA assistant referees: Samuel Pwadutakam; Usman Abdulmajeed; Efosa Igudia Celestina; Hope Igho; Tejiri Digbori; Muhammad Yakubu; Tijjani Ahmad

FIFA beach soccer referees: Jelili Ogunmuyiwa; Fawole Olawale; Olayinka Olajide; rabiu ahmad

FIFA Futsal Referees: Beautiful Zuru Alhassan; Muse Dung Davou; Pablo Umuago; Uhah Ndubuisi

FIFA Women’s Referees: Patience Ndidi; Hannah Eliagwu; Olufunmilayo Alaba; Yemisi Akintoye

FIFA Women’s Assistant Referees: Mfon Friday Akpan; Beauty Kabenda Terah; Abibat Yusuf.