Nigerian referees have again, been left out of the list of African officials put together by world football governing body, FIFA, to officiate at this year’s World Cup in Qatar.
The eight centre referees picked all officiated at this year’s African Cup of Nations with some of them already officiating at previous World Cups.
Leading the list is Gambian referee Papa Bakary Gassama who officiated at the 2014 and 2018 editions in Brazil and Russia.
Others are Mustapha Ghorbal from Algeria, Redouane Jiyed from Morocco, Tesssema Balmak of Ethiopia, Victor Gomez from South Africa, Janny Sikazwe of Zambia, Maguette N’diaye of Senegal and Jean Ndala of DR Congo.
Five countries (Ghana, Cameroon, Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal) will represent Africa at the World Cup that starts on November 21st and finishes on December 18th.
Most of these referees officiated at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations which was held in February in Cameroon.
They will undergo training for some months ahead of the tournament, which kick starts in seven months.
Since the inception of the FIFA World Cup in 1930, no Nigerian referee has officiated at the world’s biggest football event.
The closest Nigeria came to breaking the jinx was in 2014 when Peter Egan Edibi, now a retired FIFA referee, was shortlisted for the World Cup in Brazil but failed to make the final list due to what many believed to be high level politics in CAF and FIFA.
The 2022 World Cup is scheduled to kick off from November 21-18 December, with the opening game between Qatar and Ecuador.