The Management and Staff of Matchmakers Consult International Limited, organisers of the Nigeria Pitch Awards, are ecstatic following the arrival of the trophies for the various awards at the ceremony in Abuja on Friday evening.
“The trophies are here!” President of Matchmakers Consult, Shina Philips announced with much gusto on Wednesday.
This was as he headed to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja to retrieve the diadems.
The 9th Nigeria Pitch Awards, endorsed by the Nigeria Football Federation, will hold at the Great Margaret Hall of John Woods Hotel with reigning King of the Pitch and Queen of the Pitch, Victor Osimhen and Asisat Oshoala respectively, in with excellent chances of retaining their awards.
“We are very happy at where we are presently even as we aim to go higher and become bigger. Our watchwords remain transparency and credibility and we will never waver on these creeds,” Philips said on Wednesday.
Osimhen, now with 25 goals in all competitions for Italian Serie A side Napoli this season, and who recently won the Best Foreign Athlete and Player of the Month awards in Italy, battles Ademola Lookman, Alex Iwobi and Paul Onuachu for King of the Pitch crown.
Oshoala, who scooped the Pichichi Award as the league’s joint-highest goal-scorer with 20 goals, which helped her club win the league title, is in contest with Super Falcons’ teammates Rasheedat Ajibade and Gift Monday.
There are 18 categories in all where winners will emerge on Friday night: King of the Pitch; Queen of the Pitch; Striker of the Year; Goalkeeper of the Year; Defender of the Year; Midfielder of the Year; Team of the Year; Coach of the Year; Sam Okwaraji Award; State With The Best Grassroots Football Development Programme; Football Pitch of the Year; Football-Friendly Governor of the Year; Corporate Sponsor of the Year; Sportsmanship Award; Football Journalist of the Year-Print; Football Journalist of the Year-TV; Football Journalist of the Year-Radio and; Football Journalist of the Year-Online.
The four media categories hold interesting prospects, with Kunle Solaja, honoured by football’s world-governing body, FIFA, at last year’s World Cup finals in Qatar for having covered 10 FIFA World Cup finals, in the race for Football Journalist of the Year-Online.
Tobi Adepoju and Shina Oludare are the other contestants.
In Football Journalist of the Year-TV, SuperSport ace Mozez Praiz is in the race with TVC’s Promise Efoghe and Channels’ Cecilia Omorogbe.
In Football Journalist of the Year-Print, The PUNCH’s Sports Editor Tana Aiyejina is in the contest with Charles Diya and Johnny Edward, while Emmanuel Etim tops the shortlist for Football Journalist of the Year-Radio, which also has Yinka Oyedele and Tony Bekederemo.