First Time Ever, Super Falcons’ Nnadozie Makes Goalkeeper Of The Year Nomination, As Ighalo, Osimhen, Oshoala Shortlisted For Nigeria Pitch Awards
Nigerian footballers should know now that their duties to the nation will not go unnoticed with their performance both home and abroad is being appreciated and recognised.
To this end, for the first time in the history of awards of recognition in Nigeria and more importantly in the last seventh edition of the prestigious Nigeria Pitch Awards, a female player, Chiamaka Cynthia Nnadozie, who plays for Paris FC in the French Division 1 Feminine league, the goalkeeper of Nigeria’s Super Falcons has been nominated alongside male footballers, Francis Uzobo of Omonia Nicosia FC and Super Eagles goalie, Daniel Akpeyi of Kazier Chiefs FC of South Africa.
The 19 years old Nnadozie, who was outstanding for Nigeria at the last FIFA Women’s World Cup in France 2019 will slug it out with other two men players to win the Goalkeeper of the Year award in the 7th Nigeria Pitch Awards. The 7th edition is an award for the 2018/2019 football season.
Apart from the Goalkeeper of the Year award, Nnadozie was also nominated for the Queen of the Pitch award by a congress of voters that consists of over 100 Sports Editors spread across the 36 states of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
P.M. EXPRESS reports that all votes cast were collated and verified by an independent body, SIAO Partners.
Nnadozie, who joined the French league from Rivers Angels FC, played three matches for the Super Falcons and kept a clean-sheet as they beat South Korea to reach the round of 16 in the France 2019 Women’s World Cup last summer.
A winner of the 2019 Nigerian League title with Rivers Angels, Nnadozie helped Nigeria win the regional WAFU Women’s Cup of Nations title and African Games gold in 2019.
The nominations in various categories were read out by the Deputy Director, Communications Department of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mr. Ademola Olajire, who was a special guest at the unveiling press conference held at the Ibis Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.
Other Nigerian players who made nomination lists as unveiled in Lagos by the organisers, Matchmakers Consult International are Shangahi Shenhua of China’s Odion Ighalo who is being nominated for the Striker of the Year and King of the Pitch awards. Ighalo won the 6th edition’s Striker of the Year award in Asaba Delta State last year. Victor Osimhen of Lille OSC (Striker of the Year and King of the Pitch awards) and Samuel Chukwueze of Villarreal SC (Striker of the Year).
Defender of the Year award will be a straight fight between the trio of William Troost Ekong (Udinese FC), Chidozie Awaziem (Club Deportivo Legaries) and Kenneth Omeruo (Club Deportivo Legaries).
Oghenekaro Etebo (Getafe FC), Joe Aribo (Rangers FC) and Wifred Ndidi (Leicester FC) will fight for Midfielder of the Year award. Nididi was also nominated for the King of the Pitch award.
Queen of the Pitch award has Onome Ebi (Shangahi Shenhua FC) and Asisat Oshoala who plays for FC Barcelona Femini.
For the Team of the Year, Lobi Stars, the Super Eagles and Enyimba FC were nominated, while Coach of the Year award has Usman Abdallah (Wikki Tourist), Thomas Dennerby, former Super Falcons coach and Eagles’ manager, Gernot Rohr.
The trio of Ahmed Musa (Super Eagles), Seyi Akinwunmi, 1st Vice President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and Kunle Soname, chairman of Bet9ja were nominated for special Sam Owaraji award.
State with the best grassroots football development programme award has Delta, Akwa Ibom and Lagos state as nominees, while Governor Nyesom Wike (Rivers state), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom) and Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta State) were nominated for the Football Friendly Governor of the Year award.
Corporate Sponsor of Football award has AITEO Group (Oil & Gas), Zenith Bank Plc (Banking) and Bet9ja (Sports Betting) as nominees.
As usual sportswriters and broadcasters are not left in the Nigeria Pitch Awards. Football Journalist of the Year award (Print) has Charles Dina of New Telegraph, Johnny Edward and Tana Aiyejana, both of Punch newspaper as nominees.
Football Journalist of the Year award (Television) has the trio of Cecilia Omoregbe (Channels TV), Austin Okon-Akpan (Channels TV) and Mozez Praiz (Supersport) as nominees.
For Football of the Year award (Radio), the nominees are Tony Bekeredemo (Brila FM), Emmanuel Etim (Nigeria Info) and Wale Adigun (Top Radio), while Football of the Year award (Online) has Fisayo Dairo (aclsports.com), Samuel Ahmedu (goal.com) and Kunle Solaja (sportsvillagesquare.com) as nominees.
Meanwhile, President of Nigeria Pitch Awards, Shina Phillips said the wards has grown to be an integral part of the nation’s football calendar. “Since 2013, we have continued to sustain the incredible platform which rewards footballers, administrators, coaches, clubs, sponsors and journalists for their industry, commitment and patriotism for the game and for the nation.”
According to him, the award ceremony for the 7th edition supposed to hold on 27 March, 2020 the day of Nigeria vs. Sierra Leone match in Asaba, Delta state. “We had concluded all arrangement before FIFA and CAF announced the postponement of all international and continental qualifying matches as a result of the outbreak of Coronovirus around the world. We will therefore announce a new date as soon as we are able to do so,” he said.
Also speaking at the Press Conference, Nneka Eneli, SIAO Partners’ Head of Human Resources and Corporate Development, who represented Pastor Ituah Ighodalo said the accounting firm observed all due process while collating and auditing the results.