By Emmanuel Afonne
Five Nigerian male football referees have failed the FIFA Physical Fitness Test held at the main bowl of the National stadium Abuja on Saturday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the match officials are among the 16 ungraded FIFA referees invited by the Nigeria Referees Association (NRA) for a possible upgrade.
NAN also reports that seven male and nine female ungraded referees were invited for the test out of which five male failed.
Emmanuel Imiere, an instructor at the programme who declined to mention the names of the referees told NAN that five of them have missed the opportunity of being listed as FIFA badged referees.
“This is the first set of non-badged referees that will take this test and it is not easy but some of them didn’t take it serious.
“About fifty per cent of them passed the test and I am happy for the invited female referees because all of them passed.
“Five out of the seven invited male referees failed the test and they will wait till next year for another opportunity.
“They can come in November for another test for them to qualify to officiate in the national league, but as an international referee, no,’’ Imiere said.
He also said that 20 out of the 28 FIFA graded referees failed to submit their Electrocardiogram (ECG) report which made the FIFA Physical Fitness Test inconclusive.
“Their own is medical issue; they did not come with their Electrocardiogram (ECG) report which is a prerequisite to participate in the fitness test.
“If the medical team did not certify them medically fit, they won’t participate in the programme and until they submit their ECG report, they won’t participate in the fitness test.
“That is why we have given them two weeks to come back for the fitness test if they are certified medically fit.
“ECG has to do with the heart and if that report says no, we can’t allow such person to participate because we don’t want a referee to collapse in the field of play.
“It will be an embarrassment to FIFA and CAF; so, we have told them to go back and get their ECG report before they can participate,’’ he added.
Imiere who is a retired referee noted the 20 FIFA badged referees who failed to submit their ECG reports had already undergone other medical tests.
He pointed out that Nigeria had until Oct. 2 to submit the list of successful referees to FIFA.
NAN recalls that 44 referees arrived in Abuja on Friday for the two-day programme among which 28 are FIFA badged, while 16 of them were not.