- FIFA’s Scribe, other top football stakeholders to grace the event
Super Eagles’ Class of 1994 –the team that qualified Nigeria for her first –ever FIFA World Cup finals and won the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time on away ground is to be honoured on Monday at the AITEO-NFF Football Awards.
At the occasion scheduled to hold at the Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos, five members of that golden generation of Nigeria football are going to be conspicuously absent when the roll call of the gallant men who spectacularly reached the Round of 16 before crashing out to a star-studded Italian side is announced.
Rashidi Yekini, the gangling goal king who scored the country’s first ever World Cup goal against Bulgaria leads those who have passed on. Others include Uche Okafor, Thompson Oliha, Wilfred Agbonnavbare and Captain of the team, Stephen Keshi.
Chairman of the Awards Committee and NFF 1st Vice President, Seyi Akinwunmi, confirmed Thursday that the Secretary –General of FIFA, Ms Fatma Samoura has confirmed her arrival in Nigeria for the big event.
It was also learnt that 20 presidents of Member Associations of FIFA and CAF have been invited from across the African continent.
Chieftains of sponsors AITEO (Nigeria’s leading energy solution company) led by Deputy Managing Director, Francis Peters, will grace Monday’s showpiece.
Already, about six state governors have been invited, alongside Nigeria’s Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung.
According to NFF’s Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire, the occasion will also be graced by major stakeholders in the country’s football.
“A number of renowned stakeholders and oaks of the entertainment industry will also be in the auditorium on Monday night. Leading television stations, SuperSport and Africa Independent Television (AIT) will broadcast the event live,” observed Olajire last night.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State and FIFA Secretary General, Fatma Samoura (the first woman holder of that exalted position and a proud daughter of the African continent) it was learnt, will receive special awards at the occasion.
When the awards debuted last year, it marked the first time that the nation’s football-governing body was organising an Awards ceremony to reward and inspire the major actors and actresses in the Nigerian football space.
On Monday, gongs will be presented to winners in Player of the Year (men), Player of the Year (women), Coach of the Year (men), Coach of the Year (women), Young Player of the Year (men), Young Player of the Year (women), Team of the Season, Fair-play Award, Goal of the Season, Fans of the Season, NFF Development Award, NFF Order of Merit Award, Lifetime Achievement Award and Platinum Award categories.
Also, there will be special recognition of a ‘Legends Eleven,’ a squad of outstanding former Nigeria international players.
Last year’s gong went to the 1973 set of Green Eagles that won Nigeria’s first major honour – the gold medal of the football event of the 2nd All-Africa Games that held in Lagos.
LAST YEAR’S AWARD WINNERS
Young Player of the Year (Women): Rasheedat Ajibade
Young Player of the Year (Men): Ikouwem Udoh
Fair Play Award: Remo Stars FC
Fans of the Season: El-Kanemi Warriors FC Fans
Coach of the Year (Women): Ann Chiejine
Coach of the Year (Men): Kennedy Boboye
Goal of the Year: Sikiru Olatubosun (MFM FC)
Team of the Season: Plateau United FC
NFF Development Award: Channels Television (Channels Kids’ Cup)
Legends Eleven: Ann Chiejine, Austin Eguavoen, Felix Owolabi, Nwankwo Kanu, Christian Chukwu, Uche Okechukwu, Segun Odegbami, Mercy Akide-Udoh, Thompson Usiyen, Augustine ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, Adokiye Amiesimaka
Special Recognition: Nigeria’s 1973 All-Africa Games Gold Medallists
Platinum Award: Gianni Infantino