FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, the world football governing body’s Secretary General, Fatma Samoura and about 20 presidents of FIFA/CAF affiliated bodies are among the dignitaries expected in Lagos for Monday’s AITEO-NFF Football Awards ceremony scheduled for the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island.
The AITEO-NFF Football Awards, an annual event that rewards the best performers in the Nigerian football industry over a 12-month period, debuted last year, and according to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, six state governors, captains of industry, especially NFF partners, retired footballers and managers, as well as other stakeholders will grace the occasion.
Unveiling the programme for the event yesterday, NFF’s First Vice Chairman, Seyi Akinwunmi, who is also the chairman of the Awards Committee, said most of the dignitaries have confirmed the attendance at the event, which will also celebrate Nigeria’s rich culture.
The event would be broadcast live by leading television stations, SuperSport and Africa Independent Television (AIT).
Among the already known recipients of awards at the ceremony are Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State and FIFA Secretary General, Fatma Samoura (the first woman holder of that exalted position and a proud daughter of the African continent), who will receive special awards at the occasion.
Awards would be presented to winners in 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 Season, Fans of the Season, NFF Development Award, NFF Order of Merit Award, Lifetime Achievement Award and Platinum Award categories.
“Also, there will be special recognition of a ‘Legends Eleven,’ a squad of outstanding former Nigeria international players. Last year’s gong went to the 1973 set of Green Eagles that won Nigeria’s first major honour – the gold medal of the football event of the 2nd All-Africa Games that held in Lagos,” Akinwunmi said.
He confirmed that this year’s honour will go to the Super Eagles’ Class of 1994, the team that qualified Nigeria for its first-ever FIFA World Cup finals, won the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time on away ground and spectacularly reached the Round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup finals in USA.