After the much-awaited clash between the Super Eagles and South Africa’s Bafana Bafana, the focus switched to the bright lights of Sandton where the African Football Alliance (AFA) bestowed recognition awards upon Governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau State who earlier led the Nigerian delegation to the match at the FNB Stadium.
Awards were also handed out to NFF President, Amaju Pinnick and NFF 1st Vice- President, Seyi Akinwunmi.
Governor Lalong received the much-coveted African Football Development Excellence Award for his long-standing and continued support to the beautiful game, not only in his State but also across the whole of Nigeria.
Governor Lalong in his acceptance speech of the award indicated that the recent success of the Super Eagles is testimony to the fact that if Nigerian people have one common vision, anything is possible both on and off the field of play.
The Governor also recommitted himself and the State to continue focusing and prioritising support programmes for the youth and to create opportunities in all spheres of life and not only football, which in itself could be used as the cornerstone of Nigeria’s future development.
The NFF President, who received the African Football Leadership Award, was in full praise of the success of the Super Eagles reaching another AFCON tournament and insisted that they will not go to Cameroon to make up the numbers, but have already kick-started a highly focused preparation-plan to win the tournament.
Pinnick also commended Governor Lalong for his unselfish commitment to lead the process of football and community development and his vision to create a legacy, which will speak for itself when Nigeria is counted amongst the “best in the world” on all fronts of sports and society at large.
Pinnick also encouraged the AFA to continue finding ways to assist with the organisational development of football stakeholders through sustainable learning interventions, which will ultimately benefit the NFF since its future leaders would have been beneficiaries of such development programmes.
NFF 1st Vice-President, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, received the African Football Development Recognition Award for his passion and commitment to grassroots programmes as well as his high-level contribution to the national affairs of Nigerian football at large.
Akinwunmi also praised the AFA for the initiative to give recognition to those who are making an indelible mark on the development of African football in general and the fact that only a few awards were handed out at the Ceremony, is proof that those who make sacrifices for the benefit of the sport, will ultimately be recognised for their contribution, irrespective whether it is big or small.
AFA Convener, Gerrit Davids stated that the Awards program is in line with the objectives of the Alliance to foster and encourage more people to take up leadership roles within football and to share knowledge on the best practice required to make African football great.
The Ceremony was impeccably hosted by Emeka Enyadike, a well known son of the Nigerian soil, who is a multi-dimensional consultant on digital sports technology, sports marketing, sponsorship, broadcasting and social media trends.
The next AFA Awards Ceremony will take place on 21 March 2019 in Nigeria during the African Football Forum, a day prior to the last AFCON’19 Group Match against the Seychelles.