This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria/Mali: Battle of Bamako - NFF Wants Fair Officiating

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has asked the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to properly monitor Sunday's 2013 African Under-17 Championship decisive second leg-final round qualifier against Mali in Bamako.

The continental soccer ruling body has named Guinean officials for the game with Ahmed Sekou Toure as the centre referee while the trio of Sidibe Sidiki, Toure Moustapha and Keita Yakhouba would respectively serve as the first assistant, second assistant and fourth official respectively. Ivorian Doumbia Berna will oversee the game as match commissioner.

But Alhaji Muazu Suleiman, the Chairman of the NFF's referee committee said CAF should have been circumspect in its choice of Guinean officials since Nigeria defeated the West African country in the second round of the qualifier last month.

The Golden Eaglets which has scored 19 goals in their last five qualifying match; have conceded a goal through a spurious penalty in their 4-1 away win against Niger in September.

"The NFF has already raised concern about officials for this match to CAF and we want CAF to monitor this game properly," said the highly respected retired referee "Maybe it was an oversight by CAF because picking a Guinean referee for this match is not totally tidy since Nigeria defeated Guinea recently."

Suleiman, who incidentally was the leader of delegation to Niamey and Conakry, faulted the choice of Guinean officials for Sunday's crucial game, but still said he was confident that Nigeria would scale the Malian hurdle despite the lopsided choice of officials.

"By the grace of Almighty Allah, we shall qualify for the Under-17 tournament in Morocco," Suleiman further stated."What we are praying for is fair officiating because referees are human beings and CAF should not have even picked any official that may have sympathy whatsoever for any team."

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