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Mikel, Ighalo, Oshoala Win Nigeria Pitch Awards


/ by Biyi Akangbe

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, Sports Minister Solomon Dalung and Nigeria Football Federation President Amaju Pinnick were among eminent Nigerians who personally graced and picked up honours at the third edition of the Nigeria Pitch Awards in Kaduna on Friday.

It was a night of celebration and eulogies as Super Eagles Captain and Chelsea FC of England midfielder, John Obi Mikel, and forward Odion Ighalo of Watford FC also picked up deserved awards.

Mikel, along with NFF boss Pinnick and former Nigeria international Olusegun Odegbami picked up the Sam Okwaraji Award for Commitment to Nigerian Football, while El-Rufai, Dalung, Super Eagles head coach Samson Siasia and former Inspector General of Police, Sir Mike Okiro (now Chairman of the Police Service Commission), received the Special Achievement in Football Awards.

In the players’ category, Ikechukwu Ezenwa of Sunshine Stars FC picked up the Goalkeeper of the Year award.

Other winners in this category were Chinedu Udoji of Enyimba FC (Defender of the Year), Paul Onobi of Sunshine Stars FC (Midfielder of the Year) and Odion Ighalo of Watford FC (Striker of the Year) and King of the Pitch.

Asisat Oshoala retained her position as Queen of the Pitch.

Emmanuel Amuneke snatched the top prize for Coaches for his exploits with the Golden Eaglets in 2015 while Kadiri Ikhana won the Manager of the Year Award.

The Golden Eaglets and Enyimba FC won the Team of the Year and Club of the Year respectively.

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State was voted Football Friendly Governor of the Year and Lagos emerged the State with the Best Grassroots Football Development Programme for the third consecutive year.

In the Media Category, Godwin Enakhena (Top Radio), Austin Okon-Akpan (Channels TV) and Tana Aiyejina (Punch) were announced winners.

Also at the brief but impressive ceremony were NFF 1st Vice President, Seyi Akinwunmi; 2nd Vice President/LMC Chairman, Shehu Dikko; Board Members Ibrahim Musa Gusau, Ahmed Yusuf Fresh, Sharif Rabiu Inuwa, Sunday Dele-Ajayi, Babagana Kalli, Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande and Chris Green; as well as General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi.


Goal Keeper of the Year

Ikechukwu Ezenwa

Sunshine Stars FC

Defender of the Year

Chinedu Udoji

Enyimba FC

Midfielder of the Year

Paul Onobi

Sunshine Stars FC

Striker of the Year

Odion Ighalo

Watford FC

Rasheedi Yekini Award 

Gbolahan Salami 

Warri Wolves FC

Most Valuable Player (Men) in the NPFL

Gbolahan Salami 

Warri Wolves FC

Most Valuable Player (Women) in the NPFL

Ngozi Ebere

Rivers Angels FC

Club/Team of the Year

Enyimba FC - Club of the Year

U-17 Golden Eaglet -Team of the Year 

Coach of the Year

Emmanuel Amuneke

U-17 Golden Eaglets

Manager of the Year

Kadiri Ikhana

Enyimba FC

Referee of the Year

Ferdinand Udoh

Player’s Agent of the Year

John Olatunji Shittu

State with the Best Grassroots Football Development Programme

Lagos State

Football Friendly Governor of the Year

H.E Nyesom Wike 

Rivers State

Football Journalist of the Year – Print

Tana Aiyejina 

Punch Newspapers

Football Journalist of the Year –Radio

Godwin Enakhena 

Top Radio

Football Journalist of the Year –TV

Austin Okon-Akpan 

Channels Television

Corporate Sponsor of Football

Globacom -Gold

Guinness Nigeria plc -Silver

Supersport -Bronze

Sam Okwaraji Awards

Segun Odegbami - (Ex-International)

Amaju Pinnick - (Administrator)

John Obi Mikel - (Highest Number of Caps in the team)

Queen of the Pitch

Asisat Oshoala

Liverpool Ladies

King of the Pitch

Odion Ighalo 

Watford FC

Special Achievement Award

His Excellency, Nasir El-Rufai

Executive Governor, Kaduna State

Barr. Solomon Dalong

Minister of Sports

Sir Mike Mbama Okiro

Chairman, Police Service Commission 

Dr Mohammed Sanusi

General Secretary, Nigeria Football Federation

Football Achievement Award

Samson Siasia

Super Eagles Chief Coach



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