Mana to head NFF referee department

Inline image

The Nigeria Football Federation chiefs are eyeing former retired FIFA referee, Dr. Alex Mana, to head the newly created referee department of the federation.

Following Blueprint ‘a exclusive report that the federation is transiting from unit to a full fledge department with a director in the saddle, the NFF bigwigs are now zeroing in on Dr. Mana as the right man for the plum job after considering several other candidates including Callistus Chukwujekwu, Bola  Abidoye and several others.

The NFF referee unit is currently headed by Alhaji S. Zubairu from Bauchi state.

The decision to transform the unit to  department is coming on  the heels of a FIFA’s directives instructing member Federations to be compliant to the new regulations governing world soccer.

Blueprint had earlier reported that, “the NFF president Amaju  Pinnick and other bigwigs of the federation including Dr.Mohammed Sanusi and board member, Alhaji  Rabiu Inuwa Ahlan had  met to make inputs towards  actualising  the new department.”

In its letter to the NFF, “FIFA explicitly stated that the Referees committee must be an integral part of the Members  Association.”

Part of the memo reads, “It shall be responsible for the organization, regulation  and development of refereeing . It must be under  the exclusive control of Member Association and shall under no circumstances fall under the control of other bodies  such as leagues or government(including  parliament and any other state authorities).”

Dr. Alex Mana is from the Southern part of Kaduna state.

A star referee in his hey days, he was former head of department,  Management Studies, National Institute of  Sports (NIS) Lagos state where he lectured till he got his doctorate degree in Sports Administration, Management/Organisation (with specialisation in the legal aspects of Sports Law) after transferring his service from Kaduna state to the Federal Civil Service.

For several years, Mana was the secretary Kaduna state Referee Council.

He became a FIFA referee in 1995, and thereafter won four awards as a FIFA referee. 

He won the then Referee of the Year Award on three occasion in Nigeria before winning the Pepsi Award for the Best Referee.

Many key stakeholders  have hailed the decision of the  federation to appoint Dr.Alex Mana as ‘the best with football as the winner’  His wealth of experience is invaluable  and will be a great assets to  the department, a stakeholder told our correspondent.

The NFF’s General Annual Assembly is expected to formally formalise and assent to the new creation for the smooth take off of the department early next year.