One of Nigeria’s biggest sports awards held on Saturday, December 2, 2017. Tagged the “Nigerian Awards for Sporting Excellence,” the event held at Osun Hall, Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.
According to the organisers, the award was meant to encourage sportsmen and women and administrators to achieve more success in their various fields.
Among the awardees were Victor Moses, Mikel Obi and Ikechukwu Ezenwa, all Super Eagles players who were honoured for their sterling performances for club and country. Mikel Obi bagged The Captain of the Year Award, while Moses and Ezenwa got The Footballer of the Year (World) and Footballer of the year (Africa) awards respectively. Obafemi Martins was voted footballer of the year for Asia while Asisat Oshoala won the Female Footballer of the Year award.
Nigerian professional football league side, Plateau United won the Club of the Year award, Super Eagles Coach Gernot Rohr was named Coach of the Year, while NFF president, Amaju Pinnick was football administrator of the year.
It wasn’t just about football, as awards were also presented to Aruna Quadri, table tennis player. He was honoured as Sportsperson of the year. The former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, now Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio was declared the Nigerian Pillar of Sports for 2017. Akpabio was represented by Jackson, his special adviser on media matters.
FCT Director of Sports, Dili Onyedinma, was the Sports Administrator of the Year while the club manager of the year went to El-Kanemi Football club chairman, Mohammed Zanna.
The Nigerian Basketball Federation was not left out of the show, as two of its representatives won awards. D’Tigers and D’Tigress were named the national teams of the year while the NBBF president Musa Kida was also recognized as the sports federation president of the year.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Occasion, Taye Ige, who’s the CEO of HS media Group, expressed optimism about Nigeria’s chances of qualifying from its group at the world cup that includes Argentina, Iceland and Croatia. “We had the luck of the draw and we have every reason to celebrate our World Cup grouping. Argentina cannot stop us. We beat them recently in Russia and by dint of dedication, focus, determination and the special grace of God, we will beat them again during the FIFA World Cup finals in Russia. Croatia, even by UEFA ratings, are a category B team in Europe, while debutant, Iceland, are already content rubbing shoulders with the big boys. We will have more reason to celebrate as I foresee the Super Eagles going far at 2018 FIFA World Cup,” Ige said. He tips the Super Eagles to make it as far as the semi-finals.
“To go far and be considered as having had a successful campaign, Nigeria should at least make it to the semi-finals. Is this possible? Yes, I do believe so. Without advocating complacency, all that needs to be done right now is for every stakeholder to continue to do their bit as diligently as they have done so far. This is the very first time we are heading to the World Cup with stability all around the team: the technical crew; the Federation; the players. All this should combine to give us an unforgettable World Cup,” he said.