On Monday, 19th of February 2018, Nigerian stars will gather at the Grand Ballroom of Eko Hotel & Suites, ready for the premiere of the Aiteo/NFF Awards. The first of its kind in NFF’s history. A platform sponsored by Nigeria’s foremost energy conglomerate, Aiteo, to recognise and reward the hard work and dedication that goes into the game from the local to national level.
It will also be a night to celebrate Nigerian legends who reached the pinnacle of the great game. These include Austin Jay Jay Okocha, Olusegun Odegbami, Kanu Nwankwo, Christian Chukwu, Daniel Amokachi, Uche Okechukwu, Mutiu Adepoju, Garba Lawal, Joseph Yobo among others.
There are twelve award categories up for grabs by men and women who have put up stellar performances in the past year in their respective clubs. The most enviable, which is ‘Player of the Year (Men)’, is keenly contested by Victor Moses, Wilfred Ndidi and Anthony Okpotu.
Aiteo’s football intervention in Nigeria officially took off a little less than a year ago. However, within this short period, the company has made very significant progress, supporting local leagues, the national team and football administrators.
NFF won Aiteo over following disappointments from previous sponsors. Aiteo’s sponsorship, which is worth N2.5billion is valid for five years, with a possibility of extension. The company committed itself to providing ﬁnancial support for the technical crew of the main National Team as the ‘Official Optimum Partner of the NFF’. In June 2017, it also invested another N2.5 billion to underwrite the costs associated with organising the country’s Federation Cup, Nigeria’s equivalent of the English FA Cup, now christened Aiteo Cup.
This has fostered the growth of smaller teams and improved competitiveness a great deal. The last tournament witnessed a record-high participation and the prize money for the male and female categories were increased.
In January 2018, Aiteo made a great outing in Ghana’s quiet capital city, Accra, as sponsors of Africa’s high-profile annual football awards ceremony organised by Confederation of African Football (CAF). In show of support for Aiteo and NFF, CAF officials will grace the inaugural Aiteo NFF awards.
Aiteo’s prime motivation in football development, is summed up in its tag line ‘Uniting Africa through Football’. The company also believes that Nigeria, and Africa at large has what it takes to be home to some of the world’s most successful football players, clubs and leagues.
“Football has always been a unifying factor and a great tool for promoting integration and development”. The Executive Vice Chairman of Aiteo, Benedict Peters said earlier in the year in an article explaining the company’s purpose for honouring football stars on the continent.
He also added that “Africa’s young are already shaping today and redefining tomorrow with their creativity, passion and innovation. I believe that the greatest gift that our generation can give them, is to continue to provide platforms for aspiration, recognition and inspiration”.
Aiteo-NFF alliance keeps scoring more points; it has been described as the best thing to happen to football in the country in recent times.
Apart from ensuring that the Nigerian national team got their Russia 2018 World Cup ticket, Aiteo has decided once again to do something different, that will motivate current champions of Nigerian football and set an example for aspiring ones.