Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Referees Appointment Committee has been put on the hot seat following its decision to appoint a CAF-suspended referee, Joseph Ogabor to officiate league matches in the 2019 NPFL season.
Ogabor, it is understood, have officiated one match in the league being the match between Rangers and Enyimba in Matchday 5. However, he has been penciled to also officiate a Northern derby match in Maychday 10 today involving former champions, Plateau United and Kada City in Jos.
His continued officiating matches in the league has generated criticisms with many questioning the rational for the violation of CAF’s one year ban placed on him last year.
Recall that referee Joseph ogabor was suspended by CAF on 28th April 2018 over unprofessional conducts.
CAF last year banned him for one year for attempted match manipulation with respect to the Total CAF Confederation Cup 1/16th round first leg between Plateau United (Nigeria) and USM Alger (Algeria) played on 7 April 2018 in Lagos.
CAF, in a statement banning Joseph Ogabor for one year, said “The CAF Referees Committee on 28 April 2018, has confirmed the recommendation of the CAF Disciplinary Board to ban Nigeria referee Joseph Ogabor from any official mission for one year for attempted match manipulation with respect to the Total CAF Confederation Cup 1/16th round first leg between Plateau United (Nigeria) and USM Alger (Algeria) played on 7 April 2018 in Lagos.
“The decision follows investigations conducted and evidence submitted by the South African match officials of the said match, who were contacted by Ogabor to provide “technical assistance” to the Nigerian team.
“Also, Plateau United was cautioned to refrain from the practice of hospitality gifts which tend to create wrong impression,” the ban reads.
No he was not banned from officiating in local league – NRA
But in a swift reaction, National Publicity Secretary of the Nigeria Referees Association, NRA, Kelechi Mejuobi debunked the insinuations stressing that Joseph Ogabor’s ban by CAF does not include the local league.
Reacting to a Whatsapp message on the matter, Mejuobi said: “Please note and correctly interpret that CAF suspended Ogabor from CAF international matches and not the domestic league. The CAF ban was on International matches and not all football related activities as wrongly quoted.
“CAF didn’t ban Ogabor from Nigeria League. You may wish to note that the same CAF also listed him as a FIFA referee for 2019 after he took part in the FIFA listing exercise organised by the NFF
“Every referee on the list of NFF for Premier League officiating is eminently qualified and trained to handle matches in the NPFL so far it does not involve teams from his or her zones. The mechanism to checkmate any act of misconduct is available and the NRA has been applying it to panelbeat match officials into falling into line for the good of the game
“If Nigeria asks that a particular person be stopped from travelling abroad, does it stop the person from travelling from Lagos to Abuja?” Mejuobi queried.