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Musa, Ighalo, Aiteo emerge Pitch Award 2018 winners

…Aiteo retains Corporate Sponsor of Football Award
…Francisca Ordega dethrones Asisat Oshoala

John Egbohkan

Super Eagles striker and Al Nassr sensation, Ahmed Musa and Super Falcons player Francisca Ordega both won the top prizes of King and Queen of the Pitch last week at the 6th awards gala of the Nigeria Pitch Awards.

Ndiana Matthew – Group Head, Media Operations Aiteo Group, receiving the Nigeria Pitch Awards Corporate Sponsor of Football Award 2017 and 2018, at the group’s Lagos office from Nelson Olafisoye – COO Nigeria Pitch Awards, Jennifer Jumbo and Frederick Efole also of Nigeria Pitch Awards looking on.

The award ceremony which held after the International Friendly between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Warriors of Zimbabwe was attended by Seyi Akinwunmi First Vice President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Ahmed Fresh, NFF Board member, Mr. Chiedu Ebie, Secretary to the Delta State Government, Mr. Olayinka Adeleke, State Police Commissioner, Super Eagles Coach, technical crew and players.

Speaking at the ceremony, Seyi Akinwuni who represented the NFF President, commended the organizers of the awards stressing that putting an award together required a lot of effort. He reiterated the support of the Federation for the Pitch Awards.

Mr Shina Philips, President of the Nigeria Pitch Awards expressed appreciation of the organizers to the Federation and the Delta State Government. He said the organizers, Nigeria Pitch Awards remained committed to giving Nigerians a transparent and credible awards and would continue to provide a platform for football stakeholders to decide who their heroes should be.”

‘We will continue to do what is right because we believe our players need to be motivated by a transparent and credible reward system which will see them earn the respect of everyone in the football community,’ Philips said.

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In the Defender of the Year category, William Troost-Ekong of Udinese starved off competition from fellow team mates Leon Balogun and Kenneth Omeruo. In the Goalkeeper’s category, Anorthosis Famagusta goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho beat last year’s winner, Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Enyimba International goalie Theophilus Afelokhai to win the prize for the first time. Leicester City midfielder, Wilfred Ndidi retained the Midfielder of the Year award and Odion Ighalo the Shanghai Shenhua forward was voted the Striker of the Year.

The Sam Okwaraji Award for commitment to Nigeria Football has been one of the high points of previous Awards Ceremonies. Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi, the First Vice President of the NFF and Chairman Lagos FA last night joined Amaju Pinnick and Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah as winners of the prestigious Sam Okwaraji Award. The NFF President had won the previous two editions. Oil giant, Aiteo Group retained the Corporate Sponsor of Football award.

It is worthy of note that Aiteo not only won this category last year, but polled 252 of a total 456 votes by sports editors and journalists spread across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory. Voting is done online and the voting process is coordinated entirely by SIAO Partners, Nigeria’s foremost accounting firm. When this correspondent reviewed the full results released by SIAO, it saw that Aiteo garnered over 50% of the votes from across the country, showing Nigerians overwhelming support for the Benedict Peters founded energy multinational. Coca Cola came a distant second with 51 votes and Nigeria Breweries 3rd with 31 votes. Zenith bank plc polled in 29 votes to come in 4th on the leaderboard.

Full List of winners
Goalkeeper of the Year​​​-​Francis Odinaka Uzoho
Defender of the Year​​​-​William Troost-Ekong
Midfielder of the Year​​​-​Wilfred Ndidi
Striker of the Year​​​​-​Odion Ighalo
MVP in NPFL​​​​-​Junior Lokosa
MVP in the NWFL​​​-​Rasheedat Ajibade
Queen of the Pitch​​​​-​Francisca Ordega
King of the Pitch​​​​-​Ahmed Musa
Coach of the Year​​​​-​Gbenga Ogunbote
Club of the Year​​​​-​Enugu Rangers
National Team of the Year​​-​Super Falcons
Referee of the Year​​​-​Adebimpe Quadri
Sam Okwaraji Awards​​​-​Seyi Akinwunmi
State with the Best Grassroots Football Dev. Prog.​- Lagos State
Football Friendly Gov. of the Year​-​Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa
Football Journalist of the Year (Print) ​-​Johnny Edwards
Football Journalist of the Year (Radio)-​Tony Bekederemo
Football Journalist of the Year (TV)​-​Mozez Praiz
Football Journalist of the Year (Online)-​Samuel Ahmadu
Corporate Sponsor of Football​​-​AITEO Group

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