Ahmed Musa and Francisca Ordega were among the winners at the sixth edition of the Nigeria Pitch Awards, held in Asaba on Saturday.
Al Nassr’s Musa, whose brace against Iceland handed the Super Eagles their only victory at the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia, was named King of the Pitch, while Ordega – who played a crucial role as the Super Falcons emerged as African champions for a record ninth time – was named Queen of the Pitch.
The award ceremony, held after Nigeria’s 0-0 draw with Zimbabwe at the weekend, had in attendance the crème de la crème of the country’s football personalities, including players and technical crew of the Super Eagles.
In his address, barrister Seyi Akinwunmi - who represented the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president - commended the organisers of the awards, while reiterating the support of the country’s football house for the Pitch Awards.
Shina Philips, president of the awards, expressed gratitude to the Delta State government and the NFF for their backing in giving Nigerians a transparent and credible award.
“We will continue to do what is right because we believe our players need to be motivated by a transparent and credible reward system which will see them earn the respect of everyone in the football community,” Philips said.
In the Defender of the Year category, Udinese’s William Troost-Ekong dusted off competition from Leon Balogun and Kenneth Omeruo, while Francis Uzoho was named Goalkeeper of the Year ahead of Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Enyimba’s Theophilus Afelokhai, to claim the diadem for the first time.
Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi retained the Midfielder of the Year accolade as Shanghai Shenhua’s Odion Ighalo walking home with the Forward of the Year prize.
Akinwunmi won the Sam Okwaraji Award for his commitment to Nigeria Football, and Aiteo Group retained the Corporate Sponsor of Football award. Enugu Rangers handler Gbenga Ogunbote won the Coach of the Year award, while this team was named Club of the Year. Elsewhere, Nigeria’s national women team, the Super Falcons, were voted the Best National Team.
In the media category, Goal Nigeria’s Samuel Ahmadu emerged the maiden winner of the Football Journalist of the Year (Online). Other winners were Johnny Edwards (Football Journalist of the Year (Print), Mozez Praiz (Football Journalist of the Year TV) and Tony Bekederemo (Football Journalist of the Year Radio).
WINNERS IN FULL
Goalkeeper of the Year: Francis Uzoho
Defender of the Year: William Troost-Ekong
Midfielder of the Year: Wilfred Ndidi
Striker of the Year: Odion Ighalo
MVP in NPFL: Junior Lokosa
MVP in the NWFL: Rasheedat Ajibade
Queen of the Pitch: Francisca Ordega
King of the Pitch: Ahmed Musa
Coach of the Year: Gbenga Ogunbote
Club of the Year: Enugu Rangers
National Team of the Year: Super Falcons
Referee of the Year: Adebimpe Quadri
Sam Okwaraji Awards: Seyi Akinwunmi
State with the Best Grassroots Football Dev. Prog: Lagos State
Football Friendly Gov. of the Year: Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa
Football Journalist of the Year (Print): Johnny Edwards
Football Journalist of the Year (Radio): Tony Bekederemo
Football Journalist of the Year (TV): Mozez Praiz
Football Journalist of the Year (Online): Samuel Ahmadu
Corporate Sponsor of Football: AITEO Group