From Basssey Williams, Yenagoa
The organizer of the Nigerian Pitch Awards have announced plans to hold the 7th Award Ceremony of the prestigious Nigeria Pitch Awards on 22 December 2020 at the Ibis Hotel Ikeja, Lagos. Speaking to journalists in the nation’s capital Abuja, the President of the Nigeria Pitch Awards, Shina Philips stated that the 7th Award Ceremony which had earlier been scheduled to hold in March was postponed and rescheduled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant cancellation of major football events across the world.
According to Mr. Philip, it has been the tradition of the organizers since 2013 to schedule the award ceremonies to coincide with major Super Eagles match engagements. Speaking further, he said ‘the 7th award ceremony was to honour deserving award winners for the year, 2019. Unfortunately, the circumstances engineered by attempts to halt the spread of COVID-19 forced a major postponement of the event.’
Philips also stated that this years’ event would have a few guests and sports editors and journalists only in attendance. ‘This year’s award ceremony will mark the first award ceremony which will be held in Lagos. As organizers and as a responsible corporate citizen, we are mindful of the need to observe all government laid down COVID-19 protocols in order to keep our guests safe. This is why physical attendance will be restricted as many nominees including members of the Super Eagles will follow the event online.’
Major highlights of the award ceremony will include the announcement of winner of the King of the Pitch Award which will be a keen contest between Super Eagles and Leicester City F.C Midfielder, Wilfred Ndidi, Manchester United Striker, Odion Ighalo and Super Eagles and Napoli FC sensation, Victor Osimhen. In the women’s category, the Queen of the Pitch Award will be a straight battle between Onome Ebi, Super Falcons and Henan Huishang FC player, Chiamaka Nnadozie of Rivers Angels and the Super Falcons and Barcelona Women sensation Asisat Oshoala.
Football fans also expect tough contests in the Striker of the Year, Defender of the Year, Midfielder of the Year, Coach of the Year and the Football Friendly Governor of the Year categories. Other categories to be decided at the Award Ceremony include the Sam Okwaraji Award for commitment to Nigerian Football, State with the Best Grassroots Football Development Programme and the Football Journalist of the Year in the Print, Radio, TV and Online categories. In the Corporate Sponsor of football award category, AITEO Group, Zenith Bank and Bet9ja will compete for the crown.
The Nigeria Pitch Awards is Nigeria’s longest running football awards and arguably the country’s only audited sports awards. It is held annually in partnership with the Nigeria Football Federation.