Super Eagles’ striker, Victor Osimhen and the team’s goalkeeper, Maduka Okoye, as well as Super Falcons’ captain, Asisat Oshoala, are top of the list of nominees for the 2021 Nigeria Pitch Awards billed to hold in Abuja in March, 2022.
The Nigeria Pitch Awards, initiated by Matchmakers Inc in 2012, is aimed at recognising the country’s most outstanding football persons in a given year.
While Osimhen has been nominated for the King of the Pitch Award, Oshoala will vie for the Queen of the Pitch category. Maduka is a candidate for the Goalkeeper of the Year.
Apart from Osimhen, Maduka and Oshoala, many other football personalities have been listed for their outstanding performances in the game in 2021. They are Daniel Akpeyi and John Noble, who will contest with Maduka for the Goalkeeper of the Year award.
Battling with Oshoala for the Queen of the Pitch award are Gift Monday of
Rivers Angels and Uchenna Kalu of Linkopings FC, while Osimhen is contesting for the King of the Pitch gong with Wilfred Ndidi and Paul Onuachu.
The candidates for the Defender of the Year award are African Cup of Nations-bound duo of Olisa Ndah William Troost-Ekong, as well as Leon Balogun, who was forced out of the Super Eagles’ Cameroun 2022 squad by injury.
In the Midfielder of the Year category are Joe Aribo, Frank Onyeka and Wilfred Ndidi, while contestants in the Striker of the Year category are Kelechi Iheanacho, Osimhen and Paul Onuachu.
Nominated for the Team of the Year are Bayelsa United, Rivers United and Akwa United, just as candidates for the Coach of the Year Diepreye Teibowei (Bayelsa United), Edwin Okon of Rivers Angels and Akwa United’s Kennedy Boboye.
The Sam Okwaraji Award contestants are Osimhen, Nigeria Football Federation’s (NFF) Vice President, Seyi Akinwunmi and Asisat Oshoala.
Edo, Lagos and Delta States will battle for the State with the Best Grassroots Football Development Programme award, Governors Nyesom Wike, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Ifeanyi OKowa will contest for the Football Friendly Governor of the Year award, while
Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo, Mobolaji Johnson Stadium, Onikan and Teslim Balogun Stadium, both of Lagos, are in competition for the Football Pitch of the Year Award.
There are also competitions for the Corporate Sponsor of Football Award and Football Journalist of the Year Award (Print, Radio, Television (Online).
Speaking on the 2021 awards, President, Nigeria Pitch Awards, Shina Philips, explained that the journey to the eighth edition of the awards “is the story of the determination of all stakeholders to create and sustain a reward platform for our footballers, administrators and football lovers and supporters.”
He recalled that in its inaugural press conference in 2012, the organiers promised that the Nigeria Pitch Awards would offer Nigerians more than awards to deserving footballers, adding, “In continuing with this vision to offer more to improve sports in Nigeria, we are pleased to announce an annual symposium on sports.
“The symposium which will precede the annual Award Ceremony will attract local and international speakers. Our vision is to make the gathering a unique opportunity to renew and re-focus national attention on sports in Nigeria and open up avenues for administrators to harness the opportunities sports provide. We will outline more details of this project in the coming months,” he stated.