In an elaborate ceremony held at Oriental Hotels Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria, Wilfred Ndidi and Onome Ebi picked up the two major awards at the Baller Awards on Sunday evening.
Ndidi was named the best men’s player of the year, while Ebi was named the best women’s player of the year, beating Asisat Oshoala, Rasheedat Ajibade and Francisca Ordega to the award.
Ndidi who was not present at the award show thanked fans who voted for him and organizers of the awards. In a video that was shown at the ceremony, he revealed he could not be present for the show due to club engagements.
It’s a double-honour on the night for Leicester City’s Midfielder Wilfred Ndidi who bags the #TheBallersAwards Footballer of The Year & Midfielder of The Year. Big congrats! pic.twitter.com/pmNg4lZac8
— Footballers Connect (@FootieConnectNG) January 12, 2020
He also revealed he couldn’t have won the award without the help of his teammates both at Leicester City and in the National team.
Its a great privileged to win Nigeria's best footballer of the year. I couldn't have done this by myself, I want to thank my teammates both in the National team and at Leicester City. Thank you to the organisers of The Ballers Awards and all the fans. Thank you 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/IMNyzsUt5n
— Ndidi Wilfred (@Ndidi25) January 13, 2020
Meanwhile, Ebi expressed her happiness after winning the award especially in a time defenders are not recognised. The veteran of five world cups revealed she didn’t expect to win, but wants to give thanks to God for making it possible.
— Uthman Bamidele Adeshina (@Uthadesh01) January 12, 2020
— ONOME EBI (@EBIONOME) January 12, 2020
The Chinese based defender also hinted she may still represent the Falcons at the 2023 World Cup before retiring from the National team.
Meanwhile, other winners at the award include William Troost Ekong who was named defender of the year, Daniel Akpeyi (Goalkeeper Of the Year), Paul Onuachu (Goal of the year), Odion Ighalo (Humanitarian and forward of the year), and Thomas Dennerby (Coach of the year).
— Jude Ighalo Fans (@judeighalofans) January 13, 2020
Larry Izamoje was named the Icon of the year, while Mohammed’s Sulieman beat Soccernet’s Oluwajoba Ogunwale to the football journalist of the year award.
Getting recognised is already a win for me. Thank you to everyone who voted. We keep moving!!! We no go relent. pic.twitter.com/GSaorsEKWH
— Oluwajoba (@olumcjobson) January 12, 2020
Personalities present at the Award include NFF first vice-president, Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi, former Super Eagles star Mutiu Adepoju, Deji Omotoyinbo, Super Eagles media officer, Toyin Ibitoye.