Chairman of Edo State Football Referees Council, Mr. Johnbull Nosa Okundolor said the death of a former Training Officer in the Council, retired FIFA badged Referee, Elder Emmanuel Otobrise, was a great loss to the Nigerian football community. He described Elder Otobrise as a leader who led by example.
The Edo Referees boss said this when he led members and elders of the State Referees Council on a condolence visit to the family of late Elder Emmanuel Otobrise in Benin City.
Those in his entourage included the immediate past Chairman of Edo Referees Council and the National Vice President 1 of the Nigerian Football Referees Association, FIFA Faith Irabor (rtd.); former Chairman of the Council, Venerable Mike Osayi; the Council first Vice Chairman, Comrade Friday Obamwonyi; second Vice Chairman, Pastor Isaac Ighodaro; Secretary General, Comrade Roland Temigbe; Treasurer, Mr. Elvis Ajiboye Osumah; PRO, Dr. Isaac Eranga; Chairman of Egor Referee Society, Deaconess Rachel Enagbare; Benin Referee Society’s Chairman, Mr. Jonathan Nodolomwanyi. Others include: Sir Jonathan Aichie; Mr. Sylvester Okobi; Mr. Dan Iruero; Mr. Mohammed Gimba Isa.
“He was one of my fathers in football refereeing, and was one of the pillars in my administration. His advice and constructive criticism helped a lot in improving the state of affairs of the Council. He never supported what was wrong.
“He was very punctual to the Council’s weekly keep fit exercises and also to matches he was appointed for. Until his death, he was very active in the training department and was seen as a great motivator and encourager to junior referees”, Mr. Okundolor said.
Also speaking through a telephone conversation, the President of Nigerian Football Referees Association (NRA), Otunba Tade Azeez described late Elder Otobrise as a progressive who love to contribute his best to the growth and development of football in Nigeria. He prayed God to grant the family of the diseased, and the Edo State Referees Council, the fortitude to bear the loss.
On his part, a former Secretary General of NRA and a renowned Referee Instructor, Mazi Linus Mba described late Otobrise as being passionate about the growth of football refereeing. Hear him:
“The late vibrant Air Force Officer was from the stock of the fourth generation of international referees decorated by Nigeria in the early 1990s. He was very passionate about refereeing development no doubt. Indeed he spent most of active refereeing years as a Training Officer.
“Our late FIFA impacted positively on a good number of the current Referee Assessors during their formative years. We of the Nigerian football refereeing body owe him a lot of gratitude as we wish him farewell. I join all our colleagues in wishing him “good night” and a peaceful rest with our Heavenly Father. Amen”.
Speaking, the eldest son of late Elder Emmanuel Otobrise, Mr. Dickson Otobrise thanked the Edo State Referees Council for the visit, saying their presence has brought light to the family. He promised to keep the Council informed of all burial arrangements.