The third edition of the annual NFF-Aiteo Football Awards took the City of Lagos by storm on Monday night, with the country’s First Lady, Dr (Mrs) Aisha Buhari, as well as four-time African Player of the Year Asisat Oshoala, home-based professional Gift Monday and the Super Falcons’ class of 1999 the star attractions at the glamour event inside the Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island.
Scuttled by the global coronavirus pandemic that has wreaked havoc worldwide since the beginning of year 2020, the third edition of the showpiece event was planned on a smaller scale but blossomed and and became magnified as the night wore on, with the wife of the Chief Naval Staff, Hajiya Nana Aisha Gambo (representing the First Lady); First Lady of Lagos State, Dr (Mrs) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu; FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura; Edo State Deputy Governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu; Aiteo’s Executive Vice President Francis Peters; FIFA Executive Member Isha Johansen; CAF Executive Member Kanizat Ibrahim; CAF chieftain Danny Jordaan; daughters of the First Lady of the Federal Republic – Halima, Zahra and Noor; NFF Executive Committee Members and Management; top guns of the Lagos State Sports Commission and FA; NFF partners and sponsors; corporate titans; squad members of the 1999 Super Falcons; squad members of the Women ‘A’ teams of Nigeria and Cameroon and; leading football stakeholders, in the hall.
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Former NFF President, Col. Abdulmumini Aminu (rtd); Sarah Bareman (FIFA Head of Women’s Football); Barr. Allen Onyema (Chairman of Air Peace); Distinguished Senator Obinna Ogba (Chairman of the Senate Committee on Sports); AIG Garba Umar Baba (Nigeria’s Interpol Officer and NFF’s Senior Adviser on Security); Aiteo Group’s Samira Buhari and; Dr Aliyu Oroje Wammako (President of Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria) were also present.
President of the NFF and FIFA Council Member, Amaju Melvin Pinnick heaped plaudits on Dr Aisha Buhari, in whose name the six-nation invitational tournament concluded on Tuesday in Lagos was held, and disclosed that her passion, interest, attention and commitment to the challenges confronting women, the girl-child and the less privileged in general motivated the Aisha Buhari Cup event.
The First Lady was honoured with the award of Best Supporter of Women’s Football.
Silas Nwankwo and Charles Atshimene, who shared the honours of top scorer in the last NPFL season with 19 goals, were joint winners of the Best Performance of the Year (Men; Nigeria-based) while Paul Onuachu emerged Best Performer for the overseas-based crew. Super Eagles’ forward Onuachu scored 35 goals in 41 games for his Belgian club Genk and two crucial goals in the Super Eagles’ successful qualifying campaign for the 2021 AFCON finals.
Oshoala, whose Spanish club FC Barcelona won the UEFA Champions League, emerged best performer (Women; overseas-based) while Gift Monday, top scorer in the NWFL season, was crowned best performer on the home front.
Akwa United FC, Bayelsa United FC, Kennedy, Boboye, Moses Adukwu, Joseph Ogabor, Patience Madu, Ahmed Musa and NFFTV and NPFLTV were other winners, while Princess Bola Ngozi Jegede was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award (collected by her son, Christopher). There were also post-humous awards to Prince Larry Eze and Ms Henrietta Ukaigwe for contributions to women football development.
Lagos State was honoured with Host State of the Year and Edo State was recognized with Award of Commitment to Women Footbal Excellence.
Comperes Ay (Ayo Makun) and Ufuoma McDermott brought even more glamour and dazzle to the night by calling the members of the Super Falcons class of 1999 to the stage, with 14 of the 20 players present on the night: Nkiru Okosieme, Rita Nwadike, Mercy Akide, Ann Chiejine, Yinka Kudaisi, Marvis Ogun, Maureen Mmadu, Stella Mbachu, Gloria Usieta, Adanna Nwaneri, Florence Iweta, Nkechi Egbe, Judith Chime and Martha Tarhemba. The deceased Ifeanyi Chiejine was represented by her sister.