Aiteo-NFF Awards: Nigerians hail sponsors

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The 2018 Aiteo-NFF Awards scheduled to hold today, has been trailed with a lot of optimism amongst football fans in the country.

As preparations for the highest football award in Nigeria is being concluded, football fans in Calabar, Cross River state capital have stated their expectations about the award ceremony, put together by the Nigerian Football Federation, and sponsored by indigenous oil giant, Aiteo.

A final year student at the University of Calabar, Patrick Offiong stated that “I am excited about the Aiteo-NFF awards. It’s an opportunity to honour our local football stars doing great things in both local and international league. And I must commend Aiteo for the great job in supporting NFF with funds for the ceremony. I however look forward to Iwobi winning player of the year in the men’s category”

For Otobong Akpan, a resident at Yellow Duke street in Calabar south, “Nigerian football has been suffering for long for lack of sponsorship. It was as if NFF was abandoned may be due to poor performance of the Super Eagles within that period. But it took sponsors like Aiteo to help support us to the world cup. Though, we didn’t go too far, but at least we qualified after previous failed attempt, and there is bigger hope with such support coming from Aiteo.”

A trader at the popular Watt Market, Michael Onwudiwe commended Aiteo. According to him. “They (Aiteo) have supported the Super Eagles right from World Cup qualifier stage, to the World Cup in Russia. They have also been able to help support local league in a way that previous sponsors have not been able to do. Now they are trying to honour local stars, by sponsoring the NFF awards. I wish the ceremony were to hold in Calabar so I can attend live. But I’m looking forward to watch it on TV.”

A civil servant Henry Ikpi also commended the award sponsors. According to him, “We need more sponsors like Aiteo to help fund grass root football in Nigeria. Only Aiteo is paying salaries of super eagles’ squad. Only them are funding the federations cup. They even support female league. And now they are sponsoring the NFF awards, which they also did the previous time. I think we should encourage them. God bless them.”

Aiteo is currently Nigeria’s largest indigenous oil and gas company by output. In April 2017, Aiteo announced a five-year partnership agreement with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) worth an estimated N2.5billion. This partnership saw the Group emerging as the NFF’s Official Optimum Partner and funding the salaries of coaching staff of the Super Eagles, a move which is believed by many as the singular most important factor that led to Nigeria’s emergence as the first African nation to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

In June 2017, Aiteo followed up this sponsorship with a fresh N2.5billion agreement to underwrite the cost of the Federation Cup, now renamed Aiteo Cup, which they have taken to greater heights, adding glamour and colour to the game, and making it the largest televised finals in the history of the FA.

This year’s Aiteo NFF award has nine categories, some of which include: Player of the year (men & women), coach of the year (men & women), young player of the year (men & women), team of the season (men & women), amongst others.

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