The Nigeria Football Federation has announced it has concluded plans to launch an annual awards ceremony to recognise and celebrate outstanding performance in the Nigerian game.
The first edition of the event to be known as “The NFF Awards” will hold on February 19 at Eko Hotels, Lagos.
First Vice President of the NFF and Chairman of the Lagos Football Association, Seyi Akinwunmi, who heads the organising committee revealed at a press briefing in Lagos on Tuesday that the project has the secured the buy in and partnership of the Lagos State Government.
Akinwunmi said the project is an idea whose time has come as the stock of Nigerian Football is on the upward trajectory.
“We decided it was the right time to launch a project to recognize and reward excellence in Nigerian Football. Fortunately, we found a worthy partner in Lagos State, the Centre of Excellence, and with a Chief Executive (Governor Akinwunmi Ambode) who is a lover of excellence.
“The NFF Awards will be an annual event. The inaugural edition will hold at the Eko Hotel and Suites on Monday, 19thFebruary 2018, and will be graced by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, CAF President Ahmad and at least 20 FA Presidents who will be here for the FIFA Executive Football Summit also taking place in Lagos the following day.
“We have an opportunity to showcase Lagos State not only around the Awards, but also at the FIFA EFS meeting for which the State is also partnering the NFF.”
Akinwunmi disclosed that a screening committee that will have integrity, transparency and fairness as its watchwords would be empanelled in a few days, and that while some of the awards will be decided by the screening committee, others would be determined by voters online while the special awards would be the prerogative of the Federation.
He also announced that SuperSport and Africa Independent Television have teamed up with the NFF as broadcast partners of the event, and will take the event live as from 7pm on the evening.
Chairman of the Lagos State Sports Commission, Dr. Kweku Adedayo Tandoh praised the NFF for laudable projects the Federation has been undertaking recently and pledged that Lagos State will continue to support worthwhile endeavours.
“The Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency Akinwunmi Ambode is determined to make Lagos State not just a hub of sports activities and events, but to prove that sports, tourism and entertainment can intermingle brilliantly to boost the economy of any society.
“Posterity will be kind to the present NFF for the laudable projects they have been involved with and the lofty moves that they have been making to take Nigerian Football to exciting heights.”
Foremost journalist and diarist, Kayode Tijani, offered to provide the NFF with an archive that would greatly boost the project.
Organizers observed a one –minute silence in honour of former Nigeria captain and coach Stephen Keshi (of blessed memory), who would have been 56 on Tuesday, with Akinwunmi noting that it was regrettable “such a great player and coach was never accorded deserved recognition at an Awards ceremony organized by the NFF.”
Also present at the press conference were Otunba Sunday Dele-Ajayi, Ms Aisha Falode and Mr. Chidi Ofo Okenwa (all members of NFF Executive Committee), Alhaji Tade Azeez (President, Nigeria Referees Association/Vice Chairman, Lagos State FA), Mr. Adeboye Ajayi (Deputy National President, SWAN who represented SWAN President Honour Sirawoo), Mr. Dotun Coker (Member, Lagos State FA Board), Mr. Ademola Olajire (NFF Director of Communications), Mr. Colin Udoh (Member, NFF Marketing, Sponsorship and TV Rights Committee), Mr. Harry Iwuala (Head of Special Projects, LMC) and representatives of USP Brand Management, consulting for the NFF on the Awards.
The NFF Awards categories include 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 ; Fairplay Award ; Goal of the Year ; Fans of the Year ; NFF Development Award ; Order of Merit Award ; Presidential Award ; Legends Eleven and Achievement Award which for the first edition is going to the 1973 All-Africa Games Football Tournament – winning Green Eagles.