Indigenous energy conglomerate and Official Optimum Partner of the Nigerian Football Federation, Aiteo Group, reaffirmed its pledge to youth capacity development in Nigeria and across the African continent through its sponsorship of football at the second edition of the annual Aiteo-NFF Awards in Lagos.
In a keynote speech by the Executive Vice Chairman of the Group, Benedict Peters, Aiteo reiterated that positively influencing the youthful population of Nigeria informed its decision to venture into football sponsorship.
According to Peters: ‘‘First, we believe a deep commitment to encouraging and empowering Nigeria – and Africa’s youth population through the compellingly attractive medium of sport. Second, it is indisputable that the availability of sporting talent remains one of Nigeria’s most assured resources. Nigeria possesses these resources not only in abundance but in quantities capable of supporting global domination,’’
“Third, Aiteo itself is on a journey to help Africa capture the energy within and the most assured vehicle through which this can be done is to harness the youths who continue to represent the driving force of our continent. Fourth, our near-obsessive love for football in Nigeria brings us closer, blurs lines of ethnic divides and douses major forms of people-differences,’’ he added.
Legends of the national team also highlighted the positive changes in the Nigerian football scene since the inception of the partnership between Aiteo and the NFF. Former winger and African Cup of Nations winner, Segun Odegbami commended Aiteo for investing in Nigerian football.
According to Odegbami: “It is fantastic, it is great. The company is rewarding the Super Eagles and promoting football, so it is a positive thing.” Former Super Eagles and Inter Milan FC defender, Taribo West urged the company to continue its partnership with the NFF.
“It is wonderful and progressive. We pray that they will not stop here but do more for football in Nigeria,” he said.
Aiteo signed a N2.5billion sponsorship agreement with the NFF in 2017 which directly catered to the payment of salaries to coaches of the football teams and the clearing of outstanding debts to erstwhile coaches. The company subsequently took up sponsorship of the oldest indigenous football competition, The Federation Cup, thereby renaming it ‘’Aiteo Cup.’’
As part of its sponsorship, the company increased the prize money from N2million and N1million to N25million and N10million for the male and female winners respectively while the runners-up receive N10million and N5million.