Nigeria embarrassed as CAF names referees for AFCON 2023

Nigeria embarrassed as CAF names referees for AFCON 2023
Credit: @TNFCNG X

For the umpteenth time, Nigerians are embarrassed as the Confederation of African Football (CAF) releases the list of AFCON 2023 referees without any of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) match officials among those selected.

Africa's football governing body listed 68 referees for a preparatory course ahead of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations and no Nigerian referee made the cut.

In recent years, Nigerian referees have faced challenges in gaining recognition from both CAF and FIFA tournaments, and this trend is confirmed to continue in the upcoming AFCON 2023 in the Ivory Coast.

The CAF has selected official centre referees from 19 different countries for the AFCON event, with Egypt and Morocco having three representatives each, while Algeria, Gabon, and Mauritania have two respectively.

AFCON 2023 list of selected referees

The list includes 26 centre referees, 30 assistant referees, and 12 video assistant referees (VARs)

Egypt and Algeria have the highest number of referees on the list with three each; two VAR referees were selected from Mauritius, Morocco and Egypt.

In the assistant referees section, countries with at least two representatives include Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, and Senegal.

The choice of selection showcases just how the leagues of these countries have grown over the years in continental recognition.

In the last edition in Cameroon, no Nigerian centre referee was selected with just three making the list in the last six AFCON tournaments.

This speaks volumes of how low in the pecking order are Nigerian referees when it comes to reckoning in regards to their counterparts from other countries in continental competitions.

Reaction of Nigerians to AFCON 2023 list of selected referees

Rest assured, many Nigerians on social media reacted after seeing that no NPFL referee was selected.

Here are some of the most eye-catching takes:

One user on X with the name Patrick Klaud said, “Shocking revelation! AFCON 2023 referee lineup unveiled, and not a single Nigerian referee in sight. Is corruption once again tarnishing the beautiful game?”.

Another user who goes by Olaiya Azeez Lawal expressed his profound sadness after seeing the list. He said, “This is so sad, no single referee from Nigeria as CAF released the list of referees that will officiate the 2023 AFCON from January 13 to February 11, 2024”.

Reacting to the release, Mr Green Enyo on X expressed how Nigerian referees have again been left out. Here is what he said, “Again, CAF excludes Nigerian referees from officiating staff for the AFCON 2023”.

While many Nigerians vented their frustrations, some did not hold back, stating they weren't surprised at all because of how the league has been run in the last few years.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria are among the 24 countries that will compete for the trophy in the West African nation where they will be bidding to win their fourth trophy.

Nigeria last won the AFCON in the 2013 edition that was hosted in South Africa.

The AFCON 2023 tournament is scheduled to kick-off from 13 January to 11 February 2024, with the Super Eagles of Nigeria drawn in Group A alongside hosts Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau.

This article was most recently revised and updated 7 months ago

Joseph is a freelance writer who spends most of his time writing engaging football contents. Based in Nigeria, Joseph is a die-hard Real Madrid fan with over 8 years experience in the sports betting space. He has covered football match previews, predictions, and news across leagues in Africa and Europe.