On any ordinary day, PETER ELGAN EDIBI’s humble and unassuming character may deceive you into believing he is just the next guy on the street corner. But those who know him and what profile this Ikom LGA of Cross River State indigene is building are quick to put out the “STOP, LOOK & LISTEN UP” sign. In case you are still in the dark, let calitown.com break it down for you.
Edibi is a FIFA badged referee. He became a referee at the age of 13, got his Grade Three Referees Certificate at age, 17, the Grade Two in 1989, at age 19 and the Grade One certificate three years later at the age of 22. It was the latter referee certificate that qualified him to officiate in the Nigerian domestic league, his performance thereafter earning him a Nigeria Football Federation nomination and enlisting as a FIFA graded assistant referee in 2004.
Undeniably, football is a global phenomenon that commands a cult followership. Those who know how to use the ‘power’ it commands have reaped a bountiful harvest. But then, when the on-field controversies that often are an intricate part of the game (and deepen the fierce or passionate expressions by fans) surface, the centre referee hardly escapes the ire of fans. Calitown.com mentions this to Edibi and he agrees but says that since his first international game, the African Champions League game between King Faisal FC of Kumasi and Supersports Utd of South Africa, “it was only two Sundays ago (Sept 28, 2013) in Mali that I was stoned while officiating”.
Amazingly, there is a cheering piece of news we sought from him and this is how it was all set up. Calitown.com asked him to confirm if he is going to be the only Nigerian referee at next year’s football fiesta in Brazil. These are his words, ” yes, I am by God’s grace going to be the only Nigerian referee who is going to be at the World Cup in Brazil. The selection process is still on though…”.
Before now, Edibi has “actually been the only Nigerian referee at the last four Cup of Nations championships and one junior tournament”. He was at the inaugural ‘local’ Cup of Nations in Sudan in 2009, the AFCON tournament hosted by Angola in 2010 and the others in Equatorial Guinea and South Africa respectively. Then, he reveals again, “I am the first Nigerian to officiate at the finals of a CAF tournament. That was in Cote d’ Ivoire in 2009”.
When he came back from the Nations Cup tournament won by Nigeria in S/Africa this year, the Cross River State government rewarded his outstanding performance at the tournament, two-fold. It gave him cash and promised him alongside the Super Eagles, a plot of land in Calabar that he is “yet to receive”.
“For all the experience garnered, how have you contributed to the growth and development of football”, we ask him. His response is direct and factual. “…in Ikom where I reside, I started a programme to train youngsters to become referees … when I came back from the U-20 football tournament in Turkey, I went to Rivers State and had a 3-day programme at the invitation of the Rivers State Referees Council. Before the Golden Eaglets travelled for the ongoing tournament, I had two sessions with them, one in class and the other on the field to help them with how they acquit themselves on the field of play. I believe that the talent I have was given to me by God, freely, so I never have problems with giving it freely too”.
It will indeed be refreshing when the Mundial kicks off in Brazil next year and across television screens the world over, the name PETER ELGAN EDIBI, appears as a match official, it only goes to confirm that in more than the little ways we know, Cross River’s best can match up with the best the world can offer. We at www.calitown.com promise our fast soaring readers an update on the Edibi trip to the Mundial. Our conversation with him closes only after asking him “to please keep in touch”, a promise he effortlessly makes and we bid each other farewell.
© 2013, Admin. All rights reserved.