Super Eagles striker and Manchester City youngster Kelechi Iheanacho, Asisat Oshoala and Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom State were announced winners in their respective categories at the 4th Award Ceremony of the Nigeria Pitch Awards which held in Uyo last night.
The President of the Nigeria Pitch Awards, Shina Philips thanked all who made it to the award ceremony in spite of the loss of the Super Eagles. ’This gathering’, he continued, is to celebrate our players for their exploits in 2016; the loss in one match cannot obliterate the quality of a team which have gone several matches undefeated’.
In its report, SIAO Partners, represented by Mr Joshua Ansa, Partner Audit and Nneka Eneli, Head of Consulting and HR, the auditing firm affirmed the credibility of the result stressing the results ‘are reflexive of the wishes of the voters’.
Carl Ikeme, who missed the AFCON Qualifier due to injury, was named the Goalkeeper of the Year for 2016. William Troost-Ekong of Gents FC and Wilfred Ndidi of Leicester City FC picked up awards for the Defender and Midfielder of the Year respectively. Kelechi Iheanacho beat Godwin Obaje and Chisom Egbuchulam to emerge the Striker of the Year for 2016. However, Chisom Egbuchulam, the former Enugu Rangers attacker, won the award for the Most Valuable Players in the NPFL while Rafiat Sule of Bayelsa Queen was crowned Most Valuable Player in the Nigerian Women Football League.
Last season’s league winner, Enugu Rangers FC and Coach Imama Amapakabo picked the Club of the Year and Coach of the Year Awards respectively. In the Referee of the Year category, Ferdinand Udoh beat Adebimpe Quadri and Jelili Ogunmuyiwa to win the award for the 3rd time.
The Sam Okwaraji Award instituted to honour individual commitment to the cause of football in Nigeria was won by Dr Ifeanyi Ubah, the owner of Ifeanyi Ubah Football Club. Governor Emmanuel Udom, Governor of Akwa Ibom State was named the Football Friendly Governor of the Year while Lagos starved off competition from Delta and Akwa Ibom to emerge State with the Best Grassroots Football Development Programme.
In the media Categories, Punchman, Tana Aiyejina, was named the Football Journalist of the Year (Print) for the 3 year running. Channels Television Head of Sports, Austin Okon-Akpan and Top Radio FM sports presenter, Olawale Adigun received the Football Journalist of the Year Awards in the TV and Radio categories respectively.
The presence of the members of the Supporters Club enlivened the hall, venue of the award ceremony.