Completesportsnigeria.com’s Johnny Edward has been nominated for the 2015 edition of the Pitch awards scheduled for Kaduna on March 25.
Edward will compete with The Nation’s Ade Ojeikere, Tana Aiyejina's (The Punch) and Emmanuel Tobi (New Telegraph) for the Football Journalist of the Year (Print) category.
At a press conference in Lagos, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, Managing Partner, SIAO Partners, said this year’s organisation and response from the public had been highly impressive.
The organisers also increased the categories from 16 to 21 in this year’s awards. In the Goalkeeper of the Year category,Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Carl Ikeme, Nigeria’s most-capped footballer Vincent Enyeama, Femi Thomas (Enyimba) and Sunshine’s Ikechukwu Ezenwa are the candidates.
Gbolahan Salami has already been named the winner of the Rashidi Yekini Award for the top scorer in the Nigerian league.
Gbolahan scored 17 goals last season for Warri Wolves to emerge top scorer in the domestic league.
The King of the Pitch category, which is for the country’s best men’s footballer, has Watford of England'a Odion Ighalo who has scored 15 goals for the Hornets, 2015 U-17 World Cup winner, Victor Osimhen; Gbolahan Salami (Warri Wolves); and CSKA’S Ahmed Musa battling to grab the top prize.
Super Falcons’ Desire Oparanozie, Ngozi Ebere and Ngozi Okobi will vie with last year’s winner, Asisat for the Queen of thePitch award.
“Unlike the 2014 edition when we struggled to achieve 70 per cent return of forms, this year, we have 81 per cent of forms filled and returned. This is a clear marked improvement and clear evidence that the organisers are constantly fine-tuning the process without compromising transparency and integrity,” Ighodalo said.
“As we stated last year, a team was put together in our Lagos office to handle the distribution and collation of the forms.
After this, another set of auditors forensically scrutinised the collated results. We are therefore confident to state thatthe wishes of the voters have been captured to the best of our ability,” he added.
The Pitch Awards CEO, Shina Philips, thanked his partners the Nigeria Football Federation, Bet9ja and SuperSports for their continued support.
The other categories of the awards are Defender of the Year, Midfielder of the Year, Striker of the Year, MVP (Men) in theNPFL of the Year, MVP (Women) in the NPFL of the Year, Club/Team of the Year, Manager of the Year, Coach of the Year, Referee of the Year and Players’ Agent of the Year.
Others awards lined up include, Best Grassroots Football Development Programme State, Football Friendly Governor of the Year,
Football Journalist of the Year (Radio), Football Journalist of the Year (TV), Corporate Sponsor of the Year and the Sam Okwaraji Award.