We’re running awards of integrity – Matchmakers boss

Pius Ayinor

The Chief Executive Officer of MatchMakers – the organizers of the prestigious Nigeria Pitch Awards – has reiterated the pursuit of excellence in picking the winners of various categories.

Shina Phillips who spoke with journalists in Lagos by the weekend as they prepare for the sixth edition of the much acclaimed event said their determination to maintain global best practices has kept away those desirous of buying positions in various categories.

He said, “We do very to maintain integrity. We are not in this event for glamour or wealth but to organise a credible awards system such that every winner would be proud of his achievements.”

Phillips told the media that he was proud that within a few years of holding the event, the award have been rated in the top 10 in Nigeria and the organisation’s resolve is to be rated as the very best in the land.

The next awards night scheduled for May, 2019 has Super Eagles trio of Ahmed Musa of Al-Nassr, Odion Ighalo of Shanghai Shenhua and Wilfred Ndidi of Leicester City FC being shortlisted for the King of the Pitch Award.

Speaking at the event, Philips, who is the President of the Nigeria Pitch Awards, expressed the gratitude of the organizers and award partners to all sport journalists, the Nigeria Football Federation and SIAO Partners for their support for the awards since 2013.

In the Goalkeeper of the Year category, Ikechukwu Ezenwa of Katsina United FC, Theophilus Afelokhai of Enyimba F.C and Francis Odinaka Uzoho of Deportivo La Coruna/Anorthosis Famagusta were shortlisted. Brighton and Hove Albion FC defender, Leon Balogun, William Troost-Ekong of Udinese FC and Kenneth Omeruo of Leganés FC will compete for the defender of the year award.

In the Striker of the Year category, former Kano Pillars striker, Junior Lokosa will sludge it out with Shanghai Shenhua striker Odion Ighalo        and the Super Eagles vice-captain and Al-Nassr striker, Ahmed Musa.

In the women category, multiple award winners, Asisat Oshoala      of Barcelona Ladies, Francisca Ordega of Shanghai shengli and Super Falcon new sensation, Rasheedat Ajibade Avaldsnes IL will vie for the Queen of the Pitch award.

Nominees for the other categories are: MVP in NPFL: Godwin Aguda          (Enugu Rangers), Junior Lokosa  (Kano Pillars) and Mfon Udoh     of Akwa United

MVP in the NWFL: Anam Imo    (Nasarawa Amazons), Evelyn Nwabuoku (Rivers Angels) and Rasheedat Ajibade (Avaldsnes IL)

Coach of the Year: Thomas Dennerby    (Super Falcons), Gbenga Ogunbote (Enugu Rangers) and Solomon Ogbeide (Lobi Stars)

Club of the Year: Akwa United, Enugu Rangers and Lobi Stars

National Team of the Year: Super Sand Eagles, Super Falcons and Super Eagles        

Referee of the Year: Ogabor Joseph Odey, Adebimpe Quadri and Ferdinand Udoh

Sam Okwaraji Awards: Kunle Soname (Chairman, Remo Stars/BE T9JA, Amaju Pinnick (President, NFF) and Seyi Akinwunmi (1st Vice President, NFF)

State with the Best Grassroots Football Development Programme: Delta, Rivers, Lagos States

Football Friendly Governor of the Year: HE Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), HE Nyesom Wike (Rivers) and HE Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta)

Football Journalist of the Year (Print): Tunde Liadi (The Nation), Johnny Edwards (Complete Sports) and Tana Aiyejina (Punch)

Football Journalist of the Year (Radio): George Iniabasi Essien (Comfort 95.1 FM), Tony Bekederemo   (Sports Radio 88.9 Brila FM) and Olawale Adigun (Top Radio 90.9FM)

Football Journalist of the Year (TV): Cecilia Omoregbe (Channels TV), Mozez Praiz (Supersport) and Austin 0kon-Akpan (Channels TV)

Football Journalist of the Year (Online): Tobi Adepoju (naijafootballplus.com), Kunle Solaja (sportsvillagesquare.com) and Samuel Ahmadu (Goal.com)

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