By; AYO OJEDOKUN, Lagos
President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick has given thumbs up to the organizers of the Nigeria Pitch Awards as the eighth edition of the NFF –endorsed awards ceremony comes up at The Wells Carlton Hotel & Apartments, Asokoro, Abuja on Tuesday, 29th March 2022.
Launched in 2013 and driven by a corp of young and dedicated entrepreneurs, the Nigeria Pitch Awards has remained firmly among the most consistent, credible and trusted annual ceremonies to reward Nigerian football stars over the years.
Pinnick, who 12 months ago added another feather to his cap by becoming a Member of the FIFA Council (football’s highest decision –making organ universally) and who has been nominated for a special award at the event, said on Monday that the NFF continues to endorse the Pitch Awards because of the transparency of the awards’ processes and the integrity of the project.
“Awards are very important part of the sport. It helps to motivate, incentivize and energize the actors and actresses on the pitch. Beyond monetary rewards, awards are very special in that many, many years after, you can look at it either on the wall of your room or inside your cabinet and be proud of what you did while you were out there active in the business.
“I salute the bravery and perseverance of the President of Pitch Awards, Shina Phillips and his team. They are doing a great job that is helping the collective work of inspiring our players to more determined and greater performances in crucial matches and championships.”
This year’s awards ceremony takes place hours after the final leg of the FIFA World Cup playoff between the Eagles and the Stars at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.
Also to be honoured at the ceremony are Dr Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, wife of the President (who will receive Special Achievement in Sports award); Mrs Betsy Obaseki, First Lady of Edo State and; IGP Usman Alkali Baba, the Inspector-General of Police.
On 5th January, at a ceremony in Lagos, the organizers unveiled the nominees for 17 award categories. Super Eagles’ star-boy Victor Osimhen will battle team-mates Paul Onuachu and Wilfred Ndidi for the King of the Pitch award, while Super Falcons’ trio of Asisat Oshoala, Uchenna Kanu and Gift Monday will duel for the Queen of the Pitch diadem.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta and Ezenwo Nyesom Wike of Rivers will contend for the Football-Friendly Governor of the Year, while Kelechi Iheanacho joins Osimhen and Onuachu for the Striker of the Year contest.
NFF’s partners MTN, Air Peace and AITEO are in the ring for Corporate Sponsor of Football award.
Other categories are Goalkeeper of the Year; Defender of the Year; Midfielder of the Year; Team of the Year; Coach of the Year; Sam Okwaraji Award; State with Best Grassroots Football Development Programme; Football Pitch of the Year and; Football Journalist of the Year awards.